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Helping Feed the World

Posted April 17, 2017 by Erin

To watch the video, click here.

Argo Group has a role in protecting vital industries across the globe, from agriculture to manufacturing and hundreds of others. One reason for Argo’s success in so many sectors has to do with the partnerships it forms, prompted by its emphasis on collaboration with clients.

One such collaboration is helping Cattle Empire, one of the nation’s largest cattle-feeding operations. Argo, in partnership with broker Cline Wood, a Marsh & McLennan Agency LLC company, covers the herd and property against loss.

Lucas Christensen, chief financial officer for Cattle Empire, grew up on a cattle ranch in Montana. He understands the importance of having an insurance partner dedicated to the concept of sustainability.

Christensen recalls a bumper sticker on the car he drove as a teenager when he fed the animals. It read: “Ranchers: the original environmentalists.”

“I think that’s something I grew up understanding and learning that we live off the land and off the animals, and so it’s in our best interests to take care of those,” Christensen says.

He appreciates the role that Argo plays in keeping his operation running smoothly.

“More so than the monetary recovery of loss, which is important, is the speed in which we are helped,” Christensen says. “If we have a major loss, we need partners with us that will stand by us and be ready to aid us at a moment’s notice.”

Article originally published on Argolimited.com, to view the full article click here.

This document is not intended to be taken as advice regarding any individual situation and should not be relied upon as such. Marsh & McLennan Agency LLC shall have no obligation to update this publication and shall have no liability to you or any other party arising out of this publication or any matter contained herein. Any statements concerning actuarial, tax, accounting or legal matters are based solely on our experience as consultants and are not to be relied upon as actuarial, accounting, tax or legal advice, for which you should consult your own professional advisors. Any modeling analytics or projections are subject to inherent uncertainty and the analysis could be materially affective if any underlying assumptions, conditions, information or factors are inaccurate or incomplete or should change.

 

 

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Holiday Security Protocols

Posted December 23, 2016 by Erin

The Christmas and New Year holiday weekends are fast approaching. While we spend time with friends and family, cargo thieves could very well be looking to target terminals and in-transit shipments. To prepare for the long holiday weekends, we urge our members to review their security procedures and protocols. Below is a list of suggestions to help maintain the integrity of

 

Facilities:

– Check and test security alarms and surveillance systems to

ensure proper working order.

– Ensure batteries are fresh in exit doors and back up cellular

(used to maintain alarm reporting)

– Perform perimeter checks, inspect fencing or other physical

barriers to ensure they are properly secured

– Check perimeter lighting to ensure lighting is functional and

inspect timers to see that lights active at darkness

– Ensure company alarm call list is current with valid contact

information. Require responsible party to respond to all alarm

calls, even if system is suspected of malfunctioning

– Contact law enforcement and request extra patrols in the area

– Remove keys from all warehouse equipment and place in a secure

location

– Use a non-integrated cellular verified alarm system as a back

up to prevent burglars in the event they defeat the main system.

 

 

Freight In-Transit:

– If you have to leave your rig or loaded trailer unattended, look

for a true secure lot or authorized location to leave vehicles.

– If forced to leave vehicles at a public facility (truck stop, etc)

pick one which is well lit and utilizes surveillance equipment.

Park within camera view if possible.

– Secure the tractor with a steering wheel lock or kill switch. On

the trailer use a king pin lock and glad hand locks while using

industrial strength padlocks on the trailer doors.

– Do not leave keys inside the tractor!

– Check on the unattended vehicles as frequently as possible.

– Notify dispatch of where and when you have dropped the load

provide an estimated time of return.

– Use covert tracking devices embedded in the freight with geo-

fencing and alert notification capabilities.

 

 

Source(s)

SWTSC Best Practices

SWTSC:

Southwest Transportation Security Council

5501 LBJ Freeway, Suite 800

Dallas, Texas 75240

214-649-6441

www.swtsc.com

 

 

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FDA’s Final Rule on Sanitary Transportation of Human and Animal Food

Posted December 23, 2016 by Erin

FDA Issues Final Rule on Sanitary Transportation of Human and Animal Food

What You Need to Know

The Rule

On April 6, 2016, the FDA published its Final Rule on Sanitary Transportation of Human and Animal Food establishing transportation requirements to ensure the safety of both human and animal food. This rule results from long-time concerns over the need for regulations so that foods are being transported in a safe manner. It reaffirms that transportation plays a critical role in preventing risks to the nation’s food supply.

The final rule is part of the implementation of the 2005 Sanitary Food Transportation Act (SFTA) and the 2011 FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). These two statutes require the FDA to issue regulations requiring shippers, carriers by motor vehicles or rail vehicle, receivers, and other persons engaged in the transportation of food to use sanitary transportation practices to ensure that food is not transported under conditions that may render the food adulterated. The rule is one of seven fundamental rules proposed since January 2013 and is the sixth of seven regulations that have been finalized. This is also the only rule of the seven that is directly applicable to transportation.

The rule applies to shippers, loaders and carriers who transport food in the U.S. by motor vehicle or rail (whether or not food is offered or enters interstate commerce), and applies to food not completely enclosed by a container. Four key requirements are addressed: (1) vehicles and transportation equipment, (2) transportation operations, (3) records and (4) training. The new rule applies to the design and maintenance of vehicles and transportation equipment to ensure they do not cause the food being transported to become unsafe. It also requires specific measures be taken during the transport of food to ensure food safety, such as adequate temperatures. The rule requires carriers to train their personnel in sanitary transportation practices and to document the training conducted. Regulated parties must also maintain records of written procedures, agreements and training records (required for carriers).

So how will the rule on Sanitary Transportation of Human and Animal Food affect the transportation industry? First and foremost, the rule is flexible. It allows the industry to continue to use industry “best practices” which is defined as “commercial or professional procedures that are accepted or prescribed as being correct or most effective.” These practices include successful sanitation procedures, effective training programs, records retention procedures, successful inspection and monitoring programs.

The final rule indicates that businesses (other than small businesses) will have one year from date of publication to comply, so until April 7, 2017. Small businesses have 2 years to comply. “Small businesses” are defined as businesses other than motor carriers that are also not shippers and/or receivers and that employ fewer than 500 persons, and motor carriers having less than $27.5 million in annual receipts.

Before the rule becomes enforced in April 2017, those involved in the food transportation industry should review their vehicle and transportation equipment to determine how the new requirements may affect them. To comply with this new rule, all companies need to develop and implement a written procedure governing all aspects of their shipping operations. The procedure should spell out in detail the sanitation procedures for both loading and unloading and shipping equipment. If the current “best practices” are not suitable, then changes to the procedure must take place. 

Failure to comply with the rule is subject to injunction and criminal prosecution. Further, food will be deemed “adulterated” if it is transported or offered for transport by a shipper, loader, carrier or receiver under conditions that don’t comply with the rule. FDA also intends to conduct some inspections and the Department of Transportation (DOT) will establish procedures for transportation safety inspections to be conducted by DOT or state agencies.

These new requirements may be used by plaintiffs to establish negligence and negligence per se, and may appear in litigation through discovery or FOIA requests. On the other hand, proper compliance with the rule will allow companies to prove safe and proper practices.

For more information on the Sanitary Transportation of Human and Animal Food visit: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2016/04/06/2016-07330/sanitary-transportation-of-human-and-animal-food

Article originally published by Roberts Perryman.

Anna Beck is an associate attorney at Roberts Perryman. Anna’s practice focuses on transportation, insurance coverage and defense.

Roberts Perryman has been a leader in transportation defense for over 50 years with offices in St. Louis and Springfield, MO and Belleville, IL. www.robertsperryman.com

Follow their blog at: Driven to Keep You Driving

 

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Thanksgiving Weekend – Holiday Theft Awareness

Posted November 21, 2016 by Erin

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Motor carriers should be mindful of the increased risk of theft as Thanksgiving approaches. Black Friday is the busiest shopping day of the year, and warehouses and trailers are filling up with valuable inventory. Naturally, these make for target-rich environments to would-be thieves. In fact, around Thanksgiving 2015 there were 18 reported cargo theft incidents totaling approximately $1.48 million in reported losses.

Source: Freightwatch International

Please click on the link below for some great loss prevention tips from Great West Casualty Company that can help motor carriers and drivers prevent cargo thefts this year.

http://blog.gwccnet.com/blog/prevent-cargo-theft-over-thanksgiving

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ELD mandate upheld in court, compliance date remains December 2017

Posted October 31, 2016 by Erin

A federal mandate requiring nearly all U.S. truck operators to use electronic logging devices to track duty status has been upheld in court, meaning the December 18, 2017, compliance date remains effective.

The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, the federal court overseeing the case, voted to keep the mandate in place, securing a victory for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and its ELD rule. Its decision was issued Oct. 31, following oral arguments made in Chicago on Sept. 13.

The decision does not change the rule’s exemption for pre-2000 year-model trucks, which are allowed to operate without an ELD.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association filed a lawsuit on behalf of two truckers in March in an attempt to have the mandate overturned. But OOIDA was unable to convince the court of its arguments that the rule violates truckers’ Fourth Amendment rights to privacy. OOIDA also claimed the rule didn’t meet standards set by Congress for an ELD mandate — an argument the court also rejected.

The rule “is not arbitrary or capricious, nor does it violate the Fourth Amendment,” the 7th circuit judges wrote in their decision.

The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals is the same court that tossed out FMCSA’s 2010-published ELD mandate on the grounds that the rule didn’t do enough to protect truckers from harassment by carriers via the devices.

The court in its Oct. 31 decision said the agency fixed those issues in its 2015-issued rule.

The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals is the highest court in the country next to the Supreme Court. OOIDA still has the option to appeal a ruling.

The Supreme Court, however, has signaled it may not take up the case, at least from preliminary filings made this year.

The ELD mandate rule, published December 2015, requires all truckers currently required to paper logs to transition to an ELD by December 18, 2017.

This article was originally published on ccjdigital.com by James Jaillet. To see the full article click here.

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Flooding suspends hours regs in Louisiana for truckers carrying emergency relief loads

Posted August 22, 2016 by Erin

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards declared a state of emergency for the state Aug. 12 in light of the historic flooding around Baton Rouge and across the southern part of the state. Per federal law, certain federal safety regulations have been temporarily suspended for some truck drivers through the duration of the declaration.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration says such a declaration by a state “trigger[s] the temporary suspension of certain federal safety regulations, including hours of service, for motor carriers and drivers engaged in specific aspects of the emergency relief effort.”

FMCSA says drivers responding to provide “direct assistance” to an emergency, as defined here, are exempt from applicable regulations in all states on their route to the emergency, even through states that may not be involved in the emergency or stated in the declaration of emergency. The agency adds the exemptions only apply to regulations in 49 CFR Parts 390-399 and do not “exempt drivers/carriers from the requirements relating to CDL, drug/alcohol, hazardous materials, size and weight or state/federal registration and tax requirements.”

Drivers and carriers should coordinate with state officials before providing assistance, according to FMCSA. The agency also says truckers should use good judgement when operating under the temporary exemptions.

The state of emergency is in effect until Sept. 10.

Read the full story from CCJ here.  

Article written by Matt Cole and originally published on ccjdigital.com

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Annual Brake Inspection Blitz set for September

Posted August 22, 2016 by Erin

Inspectors will be keying in on brake safety again this September when the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s Brake Safety Week takes place Sept. 11-17.

Across North America, law enforcement agencies will conduct inspections on commercial vehicles to look for out-of-adjustment brakes, and brake system and anti-lock braking system violations during the week.

Specifically, CVSA says inspectors will be looking for “loose or missing parts, air or hydraulic fluid leaks, worn linings, pads, drums or rotors, and other faulty brake system components.” Inspectors will also be checking ABS malfunction indicator lights to make sure they’re in working order, CVSA says. Defective or out-of-adjustment brakes will result in the vehicle being placed out-of-service.

Most inspections occurring during the week will be full Level I inspections, according to CVSA, and 10 jurisdictions will be using performance-based brake testing to measure braking efficiency.

“CMV brakes are designed to hold up under tough conditions, but they must be routinely inspected and maintained carefully and consistently so they operate and perform properly throughout the vehicle’s life,” CVSA says. “Improperly installed or poorly maintained brake systems can reduce braking efficiency and increase the stopping distance of trucks and buses, posing serious risks to driver and public safety.”

During 2015’s brake inspection spree, inspectors conducted 18,817 inspections and placed 2,321 of those trucks out-of-service – or 12.3 percent.

Brake Safety Week is part of CVSA’s Operation Airbrake program in partnership with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

Read the full story from CCJ here.  

Article written by CCJ Staff and originally published on ccjdigital.com

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FMCSA proposes rule for new carrier safety rating program, enforcement measures

Posted January 19, 2016 by Erin

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced Jan. 15 a rulemaking proposal designed to update FMCSA’s safety rating methodology by integrating on-road safety data from inspections, along with the results of carrier investigations and crash reports, to determine a motor carrier’s overall safety fitness on a monthly updated basis.

 The proposed Safety Fitness Determination (SFD) rule would replace the current three-tier federal rating system of “Satisfactory, Conditional and Unsatisfactory” for federally regulated commercial motor carriers (in place since 1982) with a single determination of Unfit, which would require the carrier to either improve its operations or shut down.

“Using all available information  to achieve more timely assessments will allow us to better identify unsafe companies and get them off the road,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.

“Carriers that we identify as unfit to operate will be removed from our roadways until they improve,” said FMCSA Acting Administrator Scott Darling.

Once in place, the agency believes the rule will enable it to properly assess the safety fitness of approximately 75,000 companies a month. By comparison, the agency is only able to investigate 15,000 motor carriers annually under the current system, with less than half of those companies even receiving a safety rating.

Two data sources underlie the methodology the agency proposes to use: Investigation results as well as roadside inspection/violation data as compiled and measured by the CSA Safety Measurement System in five of its seven Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs) (excluding the Crash Indicator and the Controlled Substances/Alcohol category). A carrier’s on-highway performance in relation to a fixed failure threshold established in the rule for those five BASICs — Hours of Service Compliance, Driver Fitness, Unsafe Driving, Vehicle Maintenance and Hazardous Materials — will be considered.

Failure of any two will result in an unfit rating.

When assessing roadside inspection data results, the proposal uses a minimum of 11 inspections with violations in a single BASIC within a 24-month period as its data-minimum standard. Until that level of activity is reached in at least one BASIC, a motor carrier will not be eligible to be identified as “unfit.” If a carrier’s individual performance meets or exceeds the failure standards in the rule, it would then fail that BASIC. The failure standard will be fixed by the eventual final rule, the agency proposes. A carrier’s status in relation to that fixed measure would not be affected by other carriers’ performance, a key difference from the percentile scores computed within the CSA SMS in each BASIC.

The Unfit determination, ultimately, is proposed to occur with a carrier’s failure of any two BASICs, whether as a result of roadside violations, investigatory findings, or a combination of both.

FMCSA estimates that under this proposal, fewer than 300 motor carriers each year would be proposed as “unfit” solely as a result of on-road safety violations. Further, the agency’s analysis has shown that the carriers identified through this on-road safety data exhibit crash rates of almost four times the national average.

The proposal’s publication in the Federal Register, expected next week Thursday, Jan. 21, also will mark the advent of a 60-day public comment period on the provisions. FMCSA will be providing a reply comment period allowing for an additional 30 days for commenters to respond to initial commentary.

 

Original source – Commercial Carrier Journal | Author Todd Dills

– See more of the original story at: http://www.ccjdigital.com/fmcsa-proposes-rule-to-nix-current-carrier-safety-rating-system-implement-new-system-based-on-inspection-and-violation-data/?utm_source=daily&utm_medium=email&utm_content=01-18-2016&utm_campaign=Commercial%20Carrier%20Journal&ust_id=f63076e10059ec93965c3f2dca18baf6&#sthash.E52M8rC0.dpuf

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Review of the FMCSA’s New Rule Prohibiting Coercion of Commercial Motor Vehicle Drivers

Posted December 28, 2015 by Erin

Article written by Anna Newell, associate attorney at Roberts Perryman PC. Originally published on the Roberts Perryman Blog, you can visit them here.

Interpreting the Rule

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has adopted a new regulation which will prohibit anyone who operates a commercial motor vehicle in interstate commerce from coercing a driver to violate certain commercial regulations. This “Coercion Rule,” which will take effect January 29, 2016, gives the FMCSA authority to take enforcement action not only against motor carriers, but also against shippers, receivers and transportation intermediaries (including their agents or representatives).

So what exactly is coercion? The FMCSA defines “coercion” as when a motor carrier, shipper, receiver or transportation intermediary threatens to withhold work from, take employment action against or punish a driver for refusing to operate in violation of certain provisions of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs), Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMRs) and Federal Motor Carrier Commercial Regulations (FMCCRs). An example would be if a motor carrier terminates a driver for refusing to accept a load that would require the driver to violate the hours-of-service requirements.

The rule comes in response to complaints received by the FMCSA from commercial drivers who reported having received pressure to violate certain regulations such as the hours-of-service requirement or transportation of hazardous material, and having received threats including job termination, reduced pay and forfeiture of favorable work hours.

From a legal standpoint, commentators fear this rule may by relied on to argue that shippers, receivers and transportation intermediaries are accountable for the actions of their drivers. Or, the rule may be used as a basis of liability in every broker, shopped and logistics provider case. The new rule clarifies that a motor carrier may found to have violated the driver coercion rule if it hires an independent owner-operator who coerces one of its drivers. However, a broker who hires a motor carrier to perform transportation services will not be liable for coercion based on the actions of the motor carrier, because motor carriers are not the broker’s agents and a broker is not an employee of a motor carrier. An exception may occur if a broker exercises control over the driver and then requires the driver to violate a safety regulation. Hopefully the net outcome of this rule won’t be to create a way for plaintiffs’ attorneys to argue that an intermediary’s conduct contributed to a crash.

When the coercion rule takes effect on January 29, 2016, the FMCSA will then start accepting coercion complaints from drivers. The rule includes procedures drivers are to use in reporting incidents of coercion to the FMCSA. It also establishes rules of practice that the FMCSA will follow in response to reports of coercion, as well as describes penalties that may be imposed if entities are found to have coerced drivers. Violations of this rule may result in penalties of up to $16,000.00.

It is anticipated the FMCSA field offices will be flooded with complaints which will have to be sifted through to determine which are worthy of investigation.   The Final Rule can be found HERE.

Anna Newell is an associate attorney at Roberts Perryman. Anna’s practice focuses on transportation, insurance coverage and defense.

Roberts Perryman has been a leader in transportation defense for over 50 years with offices in St. Louis and Springfield, MO and Belleville, IL. http://www.robertsperryman.com

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FMCSA Lowers 2016 Random Drug Testing Rate to 25 Percent

Posted December 22, 2015 by Erin

Yesterday, the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration announced it will lower the 2016 minimum random drug testing rate for commercial driver’s license holders to 25% from 50% annually. This significant announcement is the result, in large part, of ATA’s advocacy efforts. ATA met with FMCSA on this issue early last year, helped gather relevant data, and encouraged FMCSA to take the appropriate step of reducing the testing burden if the industry’s performance continued to meet the agency’s standard. DOT has previously lowered the testing rates for others modes and acknowledged a 25% rate continues to provides strong deterrence from drug use.

 

Under a long-standing provision in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, FMCSA may lower the minimum annual percentage rates for random testing to 25% percent when the industry violation rate (as measured by number of positive tests) for random drug tests is less than 1.0% for two consecutive years. The trucking industry has maintained a sub-1.0% violation rate for three consecutive years. Today’s announcement is an important step that will immediately reduce regulatory and cost burdens for motor carriers. Carriers may, however, continue to test at a rate higher than 25% in 2016 if they so choose.

 

Article Source: Missouri Trucking Association | visit them at www.motrucking.org

 

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