To submit a carrier claim inquiry online, click on the appropriate surety provider:
Frequently Asked Questions:
Are claims processed in-house?
Yes, PFA Transportation Insurance & Surety Services is a licensed claims adjuster for financial institutions authorized by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). We specialize in claims processing of BMC-84 Surety Bonds and BMC-85 Trust Agreements. We have represented commercial banks and financial institutions since 1995 and currently handle more than 15,000 claims per year. We are experts at what we do! Our dedicated staff is here to assist in expediting the claims process and can effectively act as a middleman between the claimant and the broker.
What is the process for a claim to be filed against a broker?
Claimants (carriers, shippers, and/or authorized third parties) first need to provide some basic information: the MC # of the broker, your carrier’s MC # and contact information, the dollar amount owed, the date the load was picked up, and the commodity hauled. This can be accomplished by filling out the online form at PFAprotects.com or calling us at 623-209-2620. Within 48 hours, a claim application will be provided to a qualified claimant. The claim application should be filled out and mailed back to the address provided on the application along with the required supporting documentation: rate confirmation, bill of lading, and carrier’s invoice for each load. Upon receipt of the documents from the claimant, our staff will verify the information provided. We work directly with our active brokers to get valid claims paid quickly. In 95% of the claim inquiries, the broker pays the claimant after being informed a claim has been filed against their surety. If pending claims total more than the $75,000 surety instrument, or if the broker stops communicating with us, or if the broker stops providing timely payments to the claimant, we will recommend the Surety issue a “Notice of Cancellation”. The FMCSA allows brokers to operate for an additional 30 days after the filing of a Notice of Cancellation. We must accept claims against a cancelled broker’s surety instrument for 60 days after their effective cancellation date with the FMCSA. If a broker is not reinstated and their claims continue to multiply, we will not be able to determine the amount each claimant will receive until after the application period has expired. Payouts are conducted in one of two ways:
- Full claim payout – claims did not exceed the surety instrument and all valid claims are paid in full.
- Pro-rata payout – each valid claimant is paid a pro-rata percentage of what they are owed.
Are there instances when a claimant cannot collect from a BMC-84 or BMC-85 surety instrument?
We diligently strive to be an industry leader in following federally mandated rules and regulations regarding the administration of a BMC-84 or BMC-85 surety instrument. We review all submitted documentation to be sure that only valid claims are considered for payout. There are several categories of exemptions from federal economic regulation by the FMCSA. There are also categories of invalid claims:
- The movement which occasioned your claim involved exempt commodities, such as agricultural products, horticultural products, dairy products, poultry or enumerated non-manufactured goods.
- It was an Intrastate movement and therefore not subject to Interstate Commerce regulation.
- Transportation involving prior or subsequent movements by rail (intermodal) or movements under terms of an airbill.
- Additional items incidental to the actual movement (e.g. trucks ordered not used, lumper or pallet fees).
- The movement which occasioned the claim did not occur within the effective term of the BMC-84 or BMC-85.
- A failure to establish legal liability (e.g. sufficient documentation to establish a contract existed between the broker and carrier was not provided).
- The Surety Bond or Trust has been exhausted.
On occasion, claimant’s attorneys contact us and insist that “federal regulations” require that the Surety pay their claims immediately; while other claimant attorneys insist that “federal regulations” require the Surety defer payment until their client has had an opportunity to obtain a judgment against the broker. While we understand that each claimant would like to be paid immediately, we have a fiduciary responsibility to handle all claimants equally and professionally. We have established guidelines in administering claims that are fair to the majority. We strictly adhere to those guidelines.
What is the difference between a bond and a trust agreement?
The FMCSA requires a $75,000 surety instrument be filed for a transportation broker’s license. Both the BMC-84 (“bond”) and the BMC-85 (“trust agreement”) fulfill this requirement. The basic difference between the two is that a BMC-84 is issued by an insurance company while a BMC-85 is issued by a financial institution. An insurance adjuster may see thousands of claims per year, but only a handful of those claims will involve a BMC-84. The claims adjuster’s lack of experience in BMC-84 and BMC-85 claims, total volume of other claims, and lack of accountability to the policy holder inevitably leads to claims being paid too quickly and to the detriment of both the broker and other valid claimants. At PFA Transportation Insurance & Surety Services, we only handle claims against BMC-84 and BMC-85 surety instruments. We faithfully uphold our fiduciary obligation to investigate all submitted claims. Proper investigation and adherence to the principles of good faith and fair dealing help prevent fraudulent claims getting paid and monies remaining available to pay valid claims.
Does pursuing a claim against a BMC-84 or BMC-85 surety instrument mean forgoing other avenues of recovery?
If the amount of claims received exceeds the $75,000 surety instrument, it is not possible for a Surety to fully compensate all valid claimants. Claimants often seek multiple options for recovery. We ask that claimants contact us if they receive payment from another source so that we can record any full or partial payments against the total amount due on a claim. In some instances, carriers unable to collect the full amount of freight charges from the surety instrument can proceed collaterally against the underlying shipper or consignee. You should contact legal counsel in your State to determine if that option is available in your circumstances.
How to contact the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)?
- For general FMCSA website information, visit www.fmcsa.dot.gov
- To access information about a carrier or broker visit http://li-public.fmcsa.dot.gov
- For a list of exempt commodities visit www.fmcsa.dot.gov/documents/adminrule.pdf
What You Need. When You Need It.
TRANSPORTATION INSURANCE SERVICES
Get the right coverage and secure the most competitive rates. When it comes to protecting your business, few insurers offer all of the different lines of insurance that a domestic freight broker and/or freight forwarder needs. We are here to offer you intelligent insurance solutions on every front.
BMC-84 / BMC-85
We have several pricing and payment options for BMC-84 Surety Bonds and BMC-85 Trust Agreements. We have 20 years of claims management experience. We keep track of every claim from start to finish by constantly processing the required paperwork and communication until it is closed.