By definition, “to support” is to serve as a foundation for someone or something. That’s exactly what freight agents need: a rock-solid foundation of consistent help and communication that can be relied on through thick and thin.
Ensuring you have the right amount of and types of freight broker insurance is one of the most important — and complicated — aspects of the profession. In fact, it’s a federally mandated prerequisite.
Of course, you also don’t want to be stuck paying for needless or overpriced coverage. It’s a delicate balance that’s made easier if you have the right information. Here are three things to know about freight broker insurance:
Freight Broker Insurance of All Shapes and Sizes
Freight broker insurance is so complex partly because there are so many variations to choose from. Knowing the differences between the many types of insurance is one of the most important steps to making the right coverage decisions.
Types of freight broker insurance include:
Broker Bond — The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires each freight broker to carry a surety bond in the amount of $75,000 — to be renewed once a year. The bond helps ensure shippers or motor carriers will be payed even if the broker is not able to fulfill its contracts.
Contingent Broker Auto Liability — Protection against third-party claims, such as when it is discovered that a trucker driver’s certificate of insurance was falsified.
Contingent Broker Cargo Liability — Pays claims that the carrier will not pay.
General Liability and Property Insurance — To address liabilities beyond issues involving cargo or driving.
Workers’ Compensation — Insurance for on-the-job accidents, including coverage in case one of the trucking companies you work with does not have workers’ compensation.
Different Applications Lead to Different Types of Coverage
Based on the type of broker authority application you submit to the FMCSA, the types of insurance you need will vary.
For instance, brokers who submit Form BMC-34 will need insurance protecting against both loss or damage to vehicles and to property. Those who utilize Form BMC-91 or MBC-91X should seek bodily injury and/or property damage insurance, as well as environmental restoration coverage.
Be Prepared to File Immediately
There are several steps in the process toward becoming a freight broker, so being prepared to move quickly is important — especially regarding the filing of insurance forms, which must be received by the FMCSA within 90 days of the agency publishing public notice of intention to register you.
“In addition to filing an application for operating authority, all applicants for motor carrier, forwarder, and broker authorities must have specific insurance and legal process agent documents on file before the FMCSA will issue the authorities,” according to the FMCSA.
There are many details involved in obtaining freight broker insurance and, ultimately, becoming a broker. Building as much knowledge as possible before starting the process is the best first step.
Extensive Insurance Support
Independent freight agents who work with Freight Tec receive $100,000 broker and military bonds, errors and omissions insurance, and contingent liability insurance — along with claims processing support. It’s one of the many perks that allow freight agents to spend less time worrying about administrative duties and more time finding and finalizing deals.
It’s exciting to see the many changes that innovation and technology are driving in the freight industry. What’s disappointing is that some other aspects of the industry have been slow to follow suit.
Many people in the commercial transportation industry are drawn to become a freight broker, serving as an expert third party who can bring together those who have freight to ship, and those who are equipped to carry it. Longtime drivers and others are drawn by the lure of independence, better hours, and potentially exceptional pay.
If you want more money, flexibility, back-office support and freedom to thrive, and are ambitious with a hard-working approach, becoming an independent freight agent could be the best move you ever make. Whether you’re a longtime veteran of the freight industry or a potential newcomer looking for fresh beginnings in a fast-paced field, here are several reasons you should become a part of the freight broker business with Freight Tec:
There’s no end-all, be-all answer to the question of how to get freight from shippers — especially considering the constantly changing technology and culture around us. To enjoy sustained success, freight agents must be familiar with sales techniques that have worked in the past and ready to integrate new tools at a moment’s notice.
Not every load can be that highly sought, top-paying “big fish.” Even so, it takes a fairly consistent stream of well-paying loads to build a career as a thriving freight agent. Too many inefficient loads will keep your business spinning in circles rather than moving forward.
It takes a well-thought plan to find loads that pay well. Here are several ideas for how to make it happen:
Freight agents don’t physically hand their customers a product, and in many cases they don’t even get the chance to meet them face to face, but that doesn’t make their customer service any less important. In the shipping industry, thoughtfully crafted customer service is often the difference between a loyal clientele and constant, frustrating turnover.
So many online freight agent job postings, so little time. A professional agent looking for his or her next job can quickly become lost in a virtual sea of seemingly wonderful online opportunities. They always sound so great, right?
Before jumping into a new position, it makes sense to consider what to look for in a freight agent opportunity. There are many brokers to choose from, but no two options are created equal.
Here are several tips on how to select the best freight agent opportunities: