Freight Broker Bond (BMC-84 or ICC Bond)

A property or freight broker is one of several classes of companies licensed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). A "broker" is a transport intermediary that specializes in pairing a customer ("shipper") that needs to move property or persons and a "carrier" that is able to move property or persons. As with all regulated activities, there are requirements for participating in the sector.

Freight Broker Application Requirements

Brokers registering for the first time must complete an online applicant for broker authority and be issued an "MC" number by the FMCSA. You may begin the process here.

After registration, the FMCSA will require:

  • For brokers of property: A surety bond (Form BMC-84) in the amount of $75,000. BMC-84 Freight Broker Bond form
  • For brokers of household goods: A surety bond (Form BMC-84) in the amount of $75,000.
  • Form BOC-3, designation of the process agent for the applicant firm.
  • $300 application fee.

Freight Broker Bond Highlights

Obtaining a BMC-84 Freight Broker Bond

Surety bonds are similar to unsecured lines of credit. In order to quote a surety bond, we must get comfortable with the applicant's credit and financial condition. To offer you terms for a BMC-84, we will generally need the following:

NOTE: We offer non-standard program access to applicants with damaged credit and weak financial statements. Bad credit does not mean that you will be turned away.

WHAT IS THIS SURETY BOND?

A freight broker bond is a type of financial guarantee. Freight brokers and freight forwarders operating in the United States must electronically file a freight broker bond in order to obtain and maintain a license. This surety bond was first required in 1930 by the Interstate Commerce Commission, and denominated an "ICC Bond". The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is now the licensing body, regulating intermediaries that move property such as household goods or freight and motor cargo (motor vehicles). The FMCSA monitors licensed brokers to ensure that they operate according to their agreements with shippers and motor carriers. If a freight intermediary fails to comply with his or her contract, a carrier or a shipper may file a claim against the operator's freight broker bond. Read the Form BMC-84 Broker’s or Freight Forwarder’s Surety Bond under 49 U.S.C. 13906 to understand more clearly the nature of the freight broke bond obligation.

WHAT IS THE "BOND PENALTY"?

A surety bond must be written in a specific amount, referred to as the "bond penalty" or the penal sum of the bond. It is the maximum amount that a surety company will pay in the event of a claim. The freight broker bond penalty stood at ten thousand dollars for forty years. It was increase on June 29, 2012, when the Congress passed in to law the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21). The federal statute brought many changes to the freight intermediary sector. Two affected the bonding requirements.

  • The freight broker bond penalty increased to a minimum of seventy five thousand dollars ($75,000).
  • The law imposed a seventy five thousand dollar ($75,000) surety bond requirement on freight forwarders (FF).

The Independent Property Brokers & Agents (AIBPA) and the National Association for Minority Truckers (NAfMT) objected to the increased freight broker bond requirement. Abuses within the industry, incompetent business practices and generally the high rate of contract default by both shippers and carriers supported the parties pushing for the changes.

WHERE CAN I LEARN MORE ABOUT THE FREIGHT INDUSTRY?

Freight boards are an excellent source for information on the acquisition of of the most lucrative clientele and what their loads are. There are many. Local associations of property brokers provide good general support of brokers and participate in legislative efforts on behalf of intermediaries. Professional associations also post and contribute to sector-specific periodicals such as Overdrive Magazine, which offers timely reporting on topics of interest to freight brokers. The Cass Freight Index published by Cass Information Systems, offers an analysis of monthly aggregate deliveries of freight within the United States. Data on more than 1,200 divisions of specific companies and manufacturers is published, providing a picture of freight volumes and trends in the sector.

WHAT WILL A FREIGHT BROKER BOND COST ME?

This is not a question that can be answered without an application. A freight broker bond is a financial guarantee. The surety bond guarantees that the broker will properly account for money that come to him or her in a fiduciary capacity. Fiduciary means "a financially responsible person". So, a surety bond applicant's personal history of financial responsibility is key to underwriting. That being said, we decline no one. We offer freight forwarder and freight broker bond quotes to ALL applicants. Premiums generally run from one percent (1%) to fifteen percent (15%) of bond penalty, based largely on credit history. We need only the applicant's MC# and an application to offer a quote.

National surety bond leader, Surety One, Inc. is the MOST RESPONSIVE surety bond underwriter in North America. Call (800) 373-2804, email us at Underwriting@SuretyOne.com or click here if you would like to have a conversation about your freight forwarder or freight broker bond need.

FYI: Forwarders/freight operators may also need:

Read more about these surety bonds by clicking on the links!

Surety bond application review and quoting are free of charge. There is no obligation to purchase.