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Risky Business

Contract between the Motor Carrier and Owner Operator

By Shelly Benisch, CIC
Posted Nov 17th 2011 7:30AM


Hi Everyone,

The last 2 blogs I talked about ISO replacing the Trucker Form of Insurance and the MCS90/91X...pretty dry stuff I know!  But it's important to understand what they ARE so that if you're a Motor Carrier you know what your responsibilities "to the public" are, and if you're an Owner Operator you understand your responsibility "to your company".

So when ISO replaced the Trucker Form (contract) of Insurance with the Motor Carrier and/or Business Auto Form, what happened?

The insurance "triggers" differently than it did in the old days of trucking.  In the past, if an Owner Operator was under dispatch and caused an accident, the insurance would automatically "trigger" by defaulting to the Motor Carrier's policy.

Now, the insurance "triggers" by how the contract between the Motor Carrier and his Owner Operator is written.

This is one of the reasons you've seen a barrage of Owner Operators carrying their own Primary Commercial Auto Liability, listing their Motor Carrier back as Additional Insured on the policy...this includes that Motor Carrier in "first dollar defense".

I can't emphasize enough that there is a great deal more in the correct structuring of this arrangement, and the need for an attorney to draw up that contract between the Motor Carrier and Owner Operator.  This is NOT something that should be written yourself, or copied from your buddy's contract who also owns a company.

There is a lot that can go wrong here, if not closely administered and monitored by an agent who specializes in Truck Insurance and who is well versed in "the new structure".

The attorney I recommend is the same one TEANA recommends...Hank Seaton.  He is also extremely affordable for this essential contract design.  Without a formal contract, it is quite possible that your Motor Carrier/Owner Operator agreement won't "trigger" the way you think it will.

His website is:  or email:

If anyone has any questions, I will provide pro-bono advisement as well on this very crucial understanding of the new insurance forms that are now in place in our Expediting Community, and the trucking world in general.

Warm Regards,  Shelly

Shelly Benisch, CIC  Commercial Insurance Solutions (CIS)


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