NAFTA officials target final details before borders open in July

Transportation officials from Canada, Mexico, and the United States, as well as insurance and trucking representatives from those nations, met recently to review final safety, implementation, and insurance concerns before Texas and California borders are opened under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in July.

The National Association of Independent Insurers (NAII) attended a special session devoted to insurance issues affecting cross-border trucking chaired by Texas Insurance Commissioner José Montemayor, who also leads the National Association of Insurance Commissioners' (NAIC) NAFTA Subgroup.

“We are pleased that the implementation rules require Mexican trucking companies to have valid insurance from a US-licensed insurance company and that vehicles will only be able to enter the US at commercial border crossings when a certified inspector is on duty,” said David M Golden, NAII director of commercial lines. “In addition, DOT is training additional inspectors to meet the demands of the increased truck traffic. All of these factors are critical to protecting American motorists. After a six-year battle to highlight important safety concerns regarding the NAFTA agreement, it appears that many of our recommendations are now in place.”

The Tri-national Insurance Working Group led by Montemayor also discussed insurance underwriting concerns.

Golden said auto insurance for motor carriers currently is written by both standard and surplus lines insurance companies. State insurance regulators have successfully convinced federal transportation and safety officials to adopt the position that both types of insurers can provide this coverage for Mexican motor carriers that choose to serve US markets.

The three-day Land Transportation Conference also included a review of the new database created by the Mexican Transportation Agency that will track Mexican drivers' hours of service, valid drivers licensing, and safety records and other factors now required of US truck drivers.

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