The U.S. Department of Transportation recently extended for two years the cross-border trucking demonstration project, a reciprocal agreement that allows up to 100 Mexico-domiciled motor carriers to operate beyond the U.S. border commercial zones, and the same number of U.S. carriers to operate in Mexico.
While the project was initially authorized by Congress in 2007 under the North America Free Trade Agreement for three years, it was initially expected to run for one. The recent extension was made to give trucking operations more time to realize a return on their investment, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
According to some in the insurance industry, trucking companies have been frustrated with the on-again, off-again process of implementing the NAFTA provisions, and the program’s limitations have dampened enthusiasm on both sides of the border.
Recently, Arizona’s Insurance Commissioner Christina Urias talked to Insurance Journal’s Ken St. Onge about the concerns her state has as a border state and the developments in insuring cross-border traffic.
Urias, who noted she is part of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners G Committee, as well as attended and chaired the NAFTA meeting in Mexico City, said some of the concerns regarding cross-border issues deal with information sharing on the drivers and the accident history of the particular trucking companies.
Cross-border trucking from Mexico is a “very, very heavy industry,” she said, and there are many “insurance issues with the Mexican trucking companies and their drivers.” Yet based on the NAFTA meeting, Urias said she was “very pleased with some progress with the new regime in Mexico in terms of information sharing on the drivers and the accident history of the particular trucking companies.”
The concern, at least from her perspective, Urias said, “is to get the Arizona and the U.S. insurers interested in insuring those trucking entities.” But to do so, “companies need to ensure that they have the data and the information that’s accurate and complete on those Mexican truckers and accidents,” she said.
While there is room for improvement, Urias said, “with this increased cooperation with the Mexican government, I think that’s going to happen.”
To view the full interview with Urias at the NAIC meeting, visit Insurance Journal TV.
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