Anti-Indemnification Laws Help Protect the Trucker

With increasing frequency our clients are asking for certificates of insurance showing the shipper as being “held harmless.”  Our clients know that these requirements unfairly shift the shipper’s legal liability for their acts of negligence to them, but because the shipper has the upper hand in negotiations, our clients feel they have no choice but to sign. 


What we want our clients to know is that the tide is beginning to turn and an anti-indemnification movement has begun.  In fact, since 2005 fifteen states have adopted laws making this practice illegal. The majority of these states have adopted language into statute that condemns a shipper’s attempt to indemnify against their own negligence as being, “against public policy” and therefore “void and unenforceable.” Md. Code Ann. § 5-401; N.C. Gen. Stat. § 62-212; and Okla. Stat. § 169.7.  These states agree that indemnification agreements permit shippers to act irresponsibly, thereby compromising public safety, because there is no risk of their being held accountable for their actions. 


As of this date Michigan has not yet begun the work to pass anti-indemnification laws to protect the motor carrier.  However, Indiana and Illinois have adopted statutes and Wisconsin and Ohio are considering legislation in 2010.  In addition, the Insurance Task Force of the American Trucking Associations has made it a goal to assist states in adopting anti-indemnification statutes and has even gone so far as to lay out model language for states to consider using.


Are you interested in helping the movement along?  If so, I encourage you to contact the American Trucking Association’s Legislative Office at (202) 544-6245 and ask for their help in furthering the anti-indemnification cause in the state of Michigan.  In addition, if you are a resident of the state of Michigan, you can write your state Representative or Senator to communicate the need for this very important legislation.  Click here to find your Representative or here to contact your Senator.


Do you have additional suggestions on how we can work together to pass anti-indemnification legislation that will help to protect motor carriers?  Give us a call at (800) 596-TRUCK (8782).  We would love to discuss your ideas with you…. and as always, all of us at the Navigator Truck Insurance Agency plan to work hard at being accessible, helpful and result oriented. 


Until next month,


Jeffery A. Moss


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