Many freight forwarders and property brokers are having difficulty understanding the BMC-84 freight broker bond requirement. The surety bond requirements were revised under the new highway reauthorization law (MAP-21). The BMC-84 surety bond amount has been increased from $10,000 to $75,000. The new law requires the surety to pay claims as follows:
(1) the broker consents to the payment,
(2) the broker does not respond after notice and the surety determines that the claim is valid, or
(3) when the claim cannot be resolved and it is reduced to a judgment.
There are some significant concerns. Sureties are obligated to pay valid claims even when the bond principal objects. Sureties will also be required to “respond” within 30 days to claims notices against the freight broker surety bond. Also, in any action against a surety to recover a claim, the prevailing party is entitled to recover costs and attorneys’ fees. As of now it is unclear whether or not those that attorneys’ fees and costs can be collected along with the claim from the surety. There have been questions about whether or not the older BMC-84 freight broker bond must be “replaced” with the new one, or if a rider or endorsement will be accepted, increasing the current bond to $75,000 to comply with the new requirements. The FMCSA has stated that a rider WILL be accepted. Lastly, it is unclear how surety can be relieved or exonerated from its liability EVEN when the total penal sum of the bond has been paid out in claims.
National surety leader, Surety One, Inc. welcomes applications from both foreign and domestic companies operating in the United States. Terms will be available for all credit and financial statement conditions. Visit us at SuretyOne.com, call (800) 373-2804, or email Underwriting@SuretyOne.com for further information about understanding the BMC-84 freight broker bond application process or about any bonding need.