Do I Need a Process Agent?

Rick Malchow, Industry Business Advisor

March 11, 2021

What or Who is a Process Agent?

Before the conversation of who needs a process agent, the term itself needs to be defined. The agent for service of process is the carrier's "statutory agent." An agent needs to be located in each state the carrier operates in. The agent functions as a conduit between the legal systems and the entity. This enables court actions to be served in the jurisdiction in which the event occured and eliminates the need to search for the location of a motor carrier domiciled in another jurisdiction. 

Who Needs a Process Agent? 

Property and passenger for-hire carriers make a designation for each state in which it is authorized to operate and for each state traversed on behalf of the operation. Private carriers operating in the United States transporting between points in a foreign country also need to file a designation for each state traversed. Lastly, brokers designate process agents for each state in which their offices are located and in states where agreements will be written. 

How to Designate Process Agents?

Persons designated as process agents must reside in or maintain an office in the state of designation. The form used to designate procss agents is a BOC-3. The carrier or broker should contact a process agent, who can file the Form BOC-3 with the FMCSA. A single form can be filed with the agency at any given time. A copy of the form needs to be retained by the carrier or broker at its principal place of business.

When process agents are needed for multiple states companies may select a blanket company. Each blanket company has a process agent they work with in each state. 

If anyone feels a need to make a claim to a carrier that is required to have a process agent, the FMCSA will provide the name and address of the agent from their files. 

Let J. J. Keller help file your Form BOC-3 or call 888.473.4638 for more information.

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