AUGUSTA – Senate President Troy Jackson, of Allagash, introduced legislation to provide loggers with better protection against the loss of expensive equipment required to work in the Maine woods at a public hearing before the Legislature’s Health Coverage, Insurance and Financial Services Committee on Thursday.
“I know from firsthand experience that people working in the woods put in long hours away from their families — often without health insurance or other benefits to help them thrive and make a better life for themselves and their families,” said President Jackson. “This bill would address one aspect of their financial well-being by giving consumers stronger protection in the event of the loss of extremely expensive equipment.”
LD 984, “An Act To Allow Procurement of Surplus Lines Insurance for Commercial Forestry Construction Equipment” would provide Maine loggers with better insurance options to cover expensive equipment. It would open the current insurance marketplace to companies offering better coverage and payout options.
As independent contractors, Maine loggers and wood-haulers are responsible for purchasing expensive equipment – often costing hundreds of thousands of dollars – and accompanying insurance to cover that equipment. Due to the lack of competition in the insurance market for the logging industry, loggers have limited options when it comes to purchasing insurance to cover equipment. For example, many plans do not adequately cover accidents or fire-related damage.
Under this proposal, insurance companies with surplus line authority would be able to procure insurance on commercial forestry and construction equipment from eligible surplus line insurers. A surplus line insurer covers higher financial risks and is often not licensed within the state. The measure also makes it easier for these companies to operate in Maine in this narrow circumstance.
The measure faces additional work sessions in committee.