What is DOT Number?

A DOT or United States Department of Transportation Number is issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). It is a unique identifier assigned to companies operating commercial transportation services, either for cargo haulage or transporting of passengers. The primary role of FMCSA is to improve highway safety for all road users. The agency uses the DOT number for different purposes. They include compliance reviews, audits, collecting safety information, crash investigations, and compliance reviews for certain vehicles engaging in interstate commerce. Registering a USDOT number involves several requirements, and one of the basic requirements is insurance coverage.

Do I Need a DOT Number?

You will be required to file a USDOT number in most states in the United States if you own a commercial vehicle that:

-       Weighs more than 10,000 pounds

-       Plies the interstate routes

-       Transports up to 8 passengers for payment

-       Transports  more than 15 passengers for compensation, even if you don’t carry them for payment

-       Transports materials deemed hazardous by the Secretary of Transport

Operating Authorities Under FMSCA

A certain amount of insurance coverage is required to get an operating license and meet other obligations in the US commercial transport industry. As a commercial vehicle operator, the type of operation your company can run, types of cargo you are permitted to carry, and the insurance requirements will be dependent on which operating authority granted to you by FRSCA. The following are some of the operating authorities under FMSCA:

-       Household Goods Motor Carrier: This is for vehicles that transport household goods for general household use from factories or stores.

-       Motor Carrier of Property (Except Household Goods):  This authority is granted to for-hire motor carriers transporting regulated goods, except household goods.

-       Broker Household Goods: This applies to individuals, corporations, or partnerships that arrange transportation of household goods for compensation.

-       Broker of Property: This is for individuals or companies that arrange transportation of property for compensation, except household items.

-       United States-Based Enterprise Carrier of International Cargo

-       United States-Based Enterprise Carrier of International Cargo (Except Household Goods)

Having ascertained the type of operating authority your company requires, you will need to obtain and submit proof of the appropriate insurance coverage to the FMSCA in order to get a USDOT number.

Types of Insurance Coverage Required for FSCSA Registration

Most of the operating authorities explained above have various types of amount of insurance coverage requirements. Some of them are:

-       Public Liability Insurance: This is meant to cover liabilities from property damage, environmental restoration, and bodily injury. The required coverage amounts are  $750,000 to $5 million for freight, $3,000 for non-hazardous freight transported in vehicles weighing 10,000 pounds or less, and $5,000,000 for passengers.

-       Proof of cargo insurance: This is required for both household goods motor carriers and freight forwarders. The coverage amount is $5,000 per vehicle and $10,000 per occurrence.

-       A Surety Bond: This is for both brokers of freight and freight forwarders. A surety bond of $75,000 and a trust fund agreement of $75,000.

-       Service of Process Agents for all operating authorities

-       Endorsement for Motor Carrier Policies of Insurance

After completing your registration, your operations will be monitored under the New Entrant Safety Assurance Program for 18 months. If after the 18 months, you are deemed to be compliant with the regulations, you will then be issued a permanent operating authority.

Researchers confirm genetic mutation link to ALS symptoms

(Bethesda, MD – Insurance News 360) – A team of researchers has confirmed there is a new genetic mutation that is linked to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). The international team shows that changes in the neuronal transport gene KIF5A are associated with ALS.

The gene in question is Kinesin family member 5A (KIF5A). It has been linked to two rare neurodegenerative disorders, and has been definitively connected to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) by several of the world’s top ALS research labs. Mutations in this gene cause problems in transport of proteins along the axions that connect nerve cells of the brain and spine. This eventually leads to the neuromuscular symptoms of ALS.

Published in the March 21 issue of “Neuron,” the study was led by Bryan Traynor, M.D., Ph.D., of the Intramural Research Program of the National Institute on Aging (NIA) at the National Institutes of Health and John Landers, Ph.D., of the University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, with key funding support from the NIA, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) at NIH, and several public and private sector organizations.

There was a comprehensive collaborative effort to examine the data that pointed toward KIF5A as a suspect for ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.  The team of researchers from NIH conducted a large-scale genome-wide association study, and a team at the University of Massachusetts looked for rare variants in the next generation sequence data.   There were more than 125,000 samples in the study.

“Axons extend from the brain to the bottom of the spine, forming some of the longest single cellular pathways in the body,” said Traynor. “KIF5A helps to move key proteins and organelles – specialized parts of cells — up and down that axonal transport system, controlling the engines for the nervous system’s long-range cargo trucks. This mutation disrupts that system, causing the symptoms we see with ALS.”

The project’s next steps include further study of the frequency and location of mutations ithin the gene, to determine what cargos are disrupted. ccording to Traynor, next steps for the project include further study of the frequency and location of mutations within KIF5A and determining what cargos are being disrupted. He and his team hope this will help reveal what aspect of axonal transport is essential to maintain the cell.

Source: National Institutes of Health.

Wolf Administration Announces Recovery of More Than $98 Million for Pennsylvania Insurance Consumers in 2017

(Pittsburg, PA – Insurance News 360) – In 2017, the Pennsylvania Insurance Department returned $98,073,388 in stolen funds, unpaid insurance claims and refunds for premium overcharges to 33,138 customers throughout the state.

“Ensuring consumers are afforded all of the rights and protections guaranteed to them by Pennsylvania law is what we work for,” said Acting Insurance Commissioner Jessica Altman. “Protecting consumers and holding businesses to the highest standards continues to be a top priority of Governor Wolf and the department.”

Since 2012, the state’s insurance department has also returned $680,518,671 to consumers after a multi-state settlement with various life insurance companies.  As a leader in this ongoing examination of life insurance companies, Pennsylvania has helped not only recover financial benefits for consumers, but also entered settlement agreements with many life insurers requiring them to reform their business practices. Some companies were making selective use of the Social Security Administration’s Death Master File (DMF), and instead of paying policy benefits upon a policyholder’s death, the companies were only terminating payment of annuity benefits. These companies have now committed to properly using the DMF to identify potentially unpaid insurance benefits and locate beneficiaries.

The Insurance Department also has made available, in conjunction with the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, the Life Policy Finder, which can help beneficiaries find life insurance policies that may have been lost over the years.

If you have a question about your insurance or need to file a complaint, you may contact the Insurance Department’s Bureau of Consumer Services at 1-877-881-6388 or online.

Source: Pennsylvania Insurance Department.