Changes Ahead: Hydraulic Licenses

Change is inevitable. However, being prepared for change is not always as inevitable. Without the right information and attention to detail, being blindsided by change is easy. As a business owner in the moving and storage industry, you likely spend a great deal of time focusing on any government issued changes. In Massachusetts, there are some changes ahead when it comes to licensing that could impact your business if you are not prepared!

Last week, we discussed the MA requirements for obtaining a hoisting license. Although throughout the United States, movers are required to have licenses specific to their industry, in Massachusetts, the government is making some changes to the regulations for hydraulic licensing.

What are the changes?

According to the Massachusetts Department of Public Safety and Security, the changes  to the hoisting regulations are being made to reflect changes made to the hoisting law M.G.L. 146, § 53. These changes include:

• Short- term equipment rentals
• Temporary permits for hoisting machinery
• Specific exemptions for companies operating on a public utility company or on their own property

The most important change, despite the changes to regulations, will impact your ability to obtain movers insurance. Without a proper license you cannot obtain insurance – this can impact your credibility with customers and your liability.

In Massachusetts, hoist operators that lift more than 500 lbs, where the height of the lift exceeds 10 feet, must have a hydraulic license issued by MA effective Dec 1, 2013.

The new regulations state that at that time, you will NOT need a license to operate the machinery on your own property; however, for movers, that is often not always the case. At Wolpert Insurance, we recommend you carefully review the guidelines on the Massachusetts Department of Public Safety and Security’s website and determine your company’s needs. Of course, we are happy to assist in any way we can and answer any questions!

Your Liability Decoded: Full Value Protection

In the moving and storage industry, you have a lot of different responsibilities. You are not only responsible for your own liability and well-being, but when you accept a shipment, you are also liable, to some extent, for the value of the goods you are transporting.

However, there are different levels of liability. As a business owner, it is imperative to understand the rules that come with moving liability. The Surface Transportation Board (STB) outlines the different levels of liability and your rights and responsibilities. All movers are obligated to adhere to these standards. This makes understanding liability, in its most basic sense, extremely important to your business’s success.

You have two options:
1. Full (Replacement) Value Protection
2. Released Value

Let’s talk about the first one…
• This is the most comprehensive plan available for liability protection
• Articles that are lost, damaged or destroyed will be (at your option) either repaired, replaced, or paid for in a cash settlement
• This takes into account the current market replacement value – regardless of age or condition of the items in question
• Depreciation is never a factor with this option

The mover will charge a fee to the customer for this option. Since this type of liability is chargeable, the price varies from mover to mover. Under this option, movers are permitted to limit their liability for loss or damages if there are items of extraordinary value. These items are always specifically listed on your bill of lading (BOL).

*Remember, both of the options available are not insurance agreements. They are contractual levels of liability authorized under Released Rates Orders of the Surface Transportation Board of the US Department of Transportation.

Obtaining movers insurance is the first step to protecting your liability. The second step involves you understanding the guidelines put into place. Be sure to check in next week when we talk about the second option you may be obligated to when it comes to assuming liability. At Wolpert Insurance, we have carved out a niche for the moving and storage industry – understanding the rules and regulations is part of our job, and helping you is our passion! Call us if you have any questions, whether you’re on the road or not!

Who Needs A Hydraulic License?

When you are working in the moving and storage industry, being ahead of change is essential to remaining successful. Since regulations can dictate whether or not you can operate your business, any alterations made to regulations are imperative knowledge. As you know, all motorists in Massachusetts are required to have a valid license and insurance. In this industry, however, a typical license won’t qualify you to drive the commercial vehicles your business requires.

While there are many different commercial licenses, in the moving and storage industry, there is one of particular importance: hoisting licenses.

Who must have a hydraulic license?

Also known as a hydraulic license, in Massachusetts, a hoisting license is required for anyone who will operate derricks, cableways, machinery used for discharging cargoes, temporary elevator cars used on excavation work or any machinery used for hoisting material, according to the Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety and Security.

If you are a mover, you know that having the right licensing is imperative to the operation of your business, your credibility, and your ability to obtain movers insurance. So how can you obtain a hydraulic license in MA?

• Drivers must be 18 years of age
• Drivers must currently possess a valid driver’s license
• Must send (to the Department) a completed hoisting license application – which is available at
• Must also send: a copy of your D.O.T. Medical Certification OR 1998 ANSI B30.5 qualifications for operators or medical examiner’s certificate as well as a completed Medical Examiner’s Form – available on the same site mentioned above and a check or money order for $75.00

*Remember, you must also pass a written examination.

Once you do this, you are a licensed hoisting operator in Massachusetts – congratulations!

At Wolpert Insurance, we strive to stay ahead of change and provide you with the most up-to-date information to keep your business successful – which is why we want to give you more detail on the proposed changes to the hydraulic licensing requirements in Massachusetts! Check back next week for more information.


Your Liability Decoded: Released Value Protection

No matter where you operate or what type of items you are transporting, movers are required to assume some form of liability. In the moving and storage industry, things are typically regulated by governmental agencies. When it comes to your liability as it relates to transported goods, the Surface Transportation Board (STB) makes the rules.

Last week, we talked about one of two options for liability: full (replacement) value protection. With that option, the movers are responsible to replace, repair or make cash settlement for any items lost, damaged or destroyed. However, there is a second option: released value

This option is the most economical protection available to the customer. There is no additional cost, as with Full Value Protection. However, this option provides minimal protection to the consumer in terms of the liability the moving company takes responsibility for.

• The mover assumes liability for no more than 60-cents per pound, per article
• The loss or damage is based on 60-cents, based on weight, not the actual value of the item
• There is a place on the bill of lading (BOL) for the customer to sign and agree to this type of liability protection

By default, this type of liability coverage applies to all moving companies, regardless of the type of movers insurance they hold or any of the limits within that coverage. It is up to the customer to request the type of protection that he or she wants. It is up to the moving company to understand the limits of each option and explain both to the customer before signing off on a BOL.

*Remember, both of these options are not insurance agreements. They are contractual levels of liability authorized under Released Rates Orders of the Surface Transportation Board of the US Department of Transportation.

Additional liability insurance can be purchased by moving companies and by customers. Always be sure everything in a transaction is documented. This is the most fool-proof way to protect yourself. At Wolpert Insurance, our agents are experts in the moving and storage industry. Should you ever have any questions, all you have to do is give us a call.  We’ll be glad to help in any way we can, even if all you need is a clarification on a regulation!