liability Insurance

Discuss park gauge trains and large scale miniature railways having track gauges from 8" to 24" gauge and designed at scales of 2" to the foot or greater - whether modeled for personal use, or purpose built for amusement park operation or private railroading.

Moderators: Glenn Brooks, Harold_V

Forum rules
Topics may include: antique park gauge train restoration, preservation, and history; building new grand scale equipment from scratch; large scale miniature railway construction, maintenance, and safe operation; fallen flags; track, gauge, and equipment standards; grand scale vendor offerings; and, compiling an on-line motive power roster.
User avatar
RussellCofIdaho
Posts: 65
Joined: Wed Jun 08, 2016 1:44 pm

Re: liability Insurance

Post by RussellCofIdaho » Wed Jun 13, 2018 11:27 am

Thanks, I'll check into it.

I guess what has me burned the most about these prices is that for the approximately 3 month summer season where 99% of the running takes place, the cost is now $1000 a month! If they just charged by the month, it would be $250 a month, still high but at least within the range of possibility....
Russell Courtenay
Idaho - USA
unknownidaho.wordpress.com
Big trains and big dreams...

User avatar
Benjamin Maggi
Posts: 1096
Joined: Wed Apr 25, 2007 10:38 pm
Location: Albany, NY

Re: liability Insurance

Post by Benjamin Maggi » Wed Jun 13, 2018 11:36 am

As someone who was once an insurance attorney, the potential liability that the company would have to take on for three months would never justify the $750 premium that they could get from your club. Insurance claims are either nothing (because no one is injured) or a lot (because someone(s) is injured). There is very little middle ground. If you want insurance to cover and protect your club, you will need to pay for it.
"One cannot learn to swim without getting his feet wet." - Benjamin Maggi
- Building: 7.25" gauge "Sweet Pea" named "Catherine"

User avatar
Greg_Lewis
Posts: 1520
Joined: Wed Jan 15, 2003 2:44 pm
Location: Fresno, CA

Re: liability Insurance

Post by Greg_Lewis » Wed Jun 13, 2018 11:49 am

An aside: With the low cost of today's video cameras, I'd mount one on each end of the train facing the passengers, and high enough so you can see all the way to the other end. Thus you'd have a record when someone leans way out and tries to grab a tree on the way by. I put dashcams in both my vehicles after someone cut me off on the freeway and tried to get me to rear-end him.
Greg Lewis, Prop.
Eyeball Engineering — Home of non-interchangeable parts.
Our motto: "That looks about right."
Celebrating 30 years of turning perfectly good metal into bits of useless scrap.

User avatar
RussellCofIdaho
Posts: 65
Joined: Wed Jun 08, 2016 1:44 pm

Re: liability Insurance

Post by RussellCofIdaho » Wed Jun 13, 2018 12:47 pm

Benjamin Maggi wrote:
Wed Jun 13, 2018 11:36 am
As someone who was once an insurance attorney, the potential liability that the company would have to take on for three months would never justify the $750 premium that they could get from your club. Insurance claims are either nothing (because no one is injured) or a lot (because someone(s) is injured). There is very little middle ground. If you want insurance to cover and protect your club, you will need to pay for it.
I'm not a club! I simply want to give train rides for a donation to benefit local groups at the park!

Yes, there is tremendous liability if there is an accident or loss of life but there has to be some kind of balance to allow us to do things that benefit the community without all such benefits sucked dry by the pie-in-the-sky determination of cost of liability being so far and above the value of the service to the community that it makes It impossible to do!

And we are not talking about goofballs offering to let the public juggle chainsaws! I am a trained professional railroad worker wanting to offer kids rides!

Sorry for the rant, been dealing with 'the other' untenable situation all morning- the government...
Russell Courtenay
Idaho - USA
unknownidaho.wordpress.com
Big trains and big dreams...

rkcarguy
Posts: 697
Joined: Tue Aug 22, 2017 10:33 am

Re: liability Insurance

Post by rkcarguy » Wed Jun 13, 2018 1:15 pm

I feel your pain, I was part of a car club that was into Solo-2 events and tried to expand into racing karts as well. Between rising costs of securing venues and adequate liability insurance to satisfy the owners requirements, the kart thing didn't go and the Solo-2 portion died. Just have road rallies and the occasional show-n-shine-n-eat events now.
Worse yet, I haven't had an accident or ticket in decades, and my car insurance went up 20% this year because my area is "high risk, and highly litigous" per the insurance company :evil:

User avatar
Benjamin Maggi
Posts: 1096
Joined: Wed Apr 25, 2007 10:38 pm
Location: Albany, NY

Re: liability Insurance

Post by Benjamin Maggi » Wed Jun 13, 2018 1:21 pm

I get it. I heard your argument a lot from people who wanted inexpensive insurance, or cried foil whenever premiums had to increase.

Consider it this way: if you are sure no accidents (which could cost the insurance company a lot of money) will ever occur, you don't need insurance. If you are concerned some accidents could occur, then you must pay a premium commensurate with the amount of risk that the company will assume.
"One cannot learn to swim without getting his feet wet." - Benjamin Maggi
- Building: 7.25" gauge "Sweet Pea" named "Catherine"

User avatar
SteveM
Posts: 6505
Joined: Mon Jun 27, 2005 6:18 pm
Location: Connecticut

Re: liability Insurance

Post by SteveM » Wed Jun 13, 2018 2:03 pm

Insurance companies have lots of data about cars, houses, businesses, but not a lot about miniature trains or Solo II.

You talk miniature trains, he thinks you are running a rogue amusement park rides. You talk Solo II and he thinks you are bunch of NASCAR wannabes running into each other.

If they don't understand it or can't quantify it, then on top of the premium for the actual risk you pose, there is premium for the perceived risk above that and then a risk premium for the uncertainty.

Steve

User avatar
RussellCofIdaho
Posts: 65
Joined: Wed Jun 08, 2016 1:44 pm

Re: liability Insurance

Post by RussellCofIdaho » Wed Jun 13, 2018 2:33 pm

SteveM wrote:
Wed Jun 13, 2018 2:03 pm
Insurance companies have lots of data about cars, houses, businesses, but not a lot about miniature trains or Solo II.

You talk miniature trains, he thinks you are running a rogue amusement park rides. You talk Solo II and he thinks you are bunch of NASCAR wannabes running into each other.

If they don't understand it or can't quantify it, then on top of the premium for the actual risk you pose, there is premium for the perceived risk above that and then a risk premium for the uncertainty.

Steve
Exactly.

They don't really know, they don't have any standards as to what is required for a safety program so they bump it up 'just to be sure', like I said previously'pie-in-the-sky'.

But this last guy is a reputable insurance carrier for miniature railroads.

Before I buy anything from them, if they say 'it is this much liability', I will say 'prove it!'. Show me your calculations of actual risk experience and prove to me this is what you mush charge to support your business or I will not buy'!
Russell Courtenay
Idaho - USA
unknownidaho.wordpress.com
Big trains and big dreams...

Pontiacguy1
Posts: 818
Joined: Thu Apr 26, 2012 10:15 am
Location: Tennessee, USA

Re: liability Insurance

Post by Pontiacguy1 » Wed Jun 13, 2018 3:18 pm

A couple of years ago, our insurance carrier sent someone to one of our meets to look around and to check out the station, our waiver signing process, and our loading and unloading process, and also to see our track maintenance records. The guy was impressed enough that he returned the next day with his daughter so that they could ride! I don't think our premiums went down, but they haven't gone up any since then either.

rkcarguy
Posts: 697
Joined: Tue Aug 22, 2017 10:33 am

Re: liability Insurance

Post by rkcarguy » Thu Jun 14, 2018 10:40 am

They actually have a lot of Data on Solo-2 racing. In my 10 years with the club, we had one property damage incident where a BMW spun off the course and damaged a building which was our first insurance incident. For those who don't know, Solo-2 runs a cone course, one car at a time, for the fastest time. We used to use large parking lots and a closed airport runway for our venues. As the owners of the venues became more fearful as we have became a more litigious nation, they began requiring more insurance....it went from $1 million to $3 million to $5 million during my time with the club, which of course cost much more for premiums. Over the years that's one claim for $900 of damage, no injuries or fatalities, and somewhere in the range of over $300,000 paid for insurance premiums.
I would agree that insurance probably doesn't know much about backyard trains, and I wish the insurance companies would step up and offer something tailored for various situations like private owner and family used RR's, clubs, and "rides" open to the public.

I'll ask this to those of you that have been in the hobby for a long time, how many injury accidents have you heard of or seen?

The difference in how things run between the US and Canada is also very interesting. For instance, a go kart track opened up nearby in 2011 and has to have a very rigorous insurance system, linked plastic barriers, X-amount of setback, then chain link fencing, then any spectators have to be in a special area so far back from the chain link fencing. To even get in the gate, everyone must purchase a insurance band. Then there is another track about an hour away in Canada. The gate is open and you just drive in. The course consists of old tires bundled together and 3 20' freight containers arranged in a pyramid stack with karts going out into and coming off the track through a gap in the center of them. That's it. You can step right up to the tires and watch if you want.

rkcarguy
Posts: 697
Joined: Tue Aug 22, 2017 10:33 am

Re: liability Insurance

Post by rkcarguy » Thu Jun 14, 2018 10:52 am

I understand the risk with public rides unfortunately, there are so many people looking for easy money anymore as Greg Lewis pointed out. Dealing with the public opens up that risk, where the public themselves are the risk.

User avatar
RussellCofIdaho
Posts: 65
Joined: Wed Jun 08, 2016 1:44 pm

Re: liability Insurance

Post by RussellCofIdaho » Thu Jun 14, 2018 10:53 am

rkcarguy wrote:
Thu Jun 14, 2018 10:40 am
I'll ask this to those of you that have been in the hobby for a long time, how many injury accidents have you heard of or seen?

The difference in how things run between the US and Canada is also very interesting. For instance, a go kart track opened up nearby in 2011 and has to have a very rigorous insurance system, linked plastic barriers, X-amount of setback, then chain link fencing, then any spectators have to be in a special area so far back from the chain link fencing. To even get in the gate, everyone must purchase a insurance band. Then there is another track about an hour away in Canada. The gate is open and you just drive in. The course consists of old tires bundled together and 3 20' freight containers arranged in a pyramid stack with karts going out into and coming off the track through a gap in the center of them. That's it. You can step right up to the tires and watch if you want.
I am not near any clubs or private tracks anymore so don't know about accidents but find it interesting the difference between the US and Canada. I'll have to do some research into the differences in liability laws between the two.

I don't have a problem with someone suing when there is actually some liability but am really frustrated with frivolous lawsuits, especially when some win! Like the movie company who was refused permission to shoot on railroad tracks and did it anyway. Several crew members were killed or injured, the owner/producer was convicted but the families sued the railroad anyway and won! I'm sure it will be overturned in appeal but still...
Russell Courtenay
Idaho - USA
unknownidaho.wordpress.com
Big trains and big dreams...

Post Reply