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Re: liability Insurance

Posted: Thu Jun 14, 2018 11:05 am
by rkcarguy
Canada, well at least BC, has government monopolized insurance. It has it's ups and downs I'm sure. But being its the government, the frivolous stuff, and a fair amount of the legitimate claims as well, are minimized or dismissed instead of being awarded these large sums of money.
I've seen the video of that incident you speak of, it's on Youtube and it sure wasn't the RR's fault.

Note that the clubs/tracks I speak of were for racing karts, these things are doing 50-70mph on an asphalt road course type setup. It was to point out that in other countries all that is going to be awarded to someone is the Darwin award, not a bunch of money when they do something stupid.

Re: liability Insurance

Posted: Thu Jun 14, 2018 11:17 am
by SteveM
RussellCofIdaho wrote:
Thu Jun 14, 2018 10:53 am
I'm sure it will be overturned in appeal but still...
Even if it's overturned, the railroad still loses - they will end up paying a ton of lawyers fees and court costs.

Not trying to get political, but until we have at least some form of "loser pays", frivolous lawsuits will be the norm - there is little downside and all upside.

Many times, the insurance company will settle, just to keep the lawyers out of it, and that just encourages more lawsuits.

<rant mode off>

Steve

Re: liability Insurance

Posted: Thu Jun 14, 2018 11:18 am
by rkcarguy
Lets look at it another way....
My opinion on the risk level of riding a large scale train:
From highest to lowest risk...

Motocross-Dirt bikes
Skiing/Snowboarding
Riding Horses
Quads
River rafting/Kayaking
Mountain biking
Roller coaster ride
Contact sports
Boating
Driving your car
Kart Racing
Hiking
*Large scale trains*
Riding the bus

Interestingly enough, kart racing was identified at around the same level of risk as hiking by insurance companies when I was researching it, provided all the safety measures and gear are in place.

Re: liability Insurance

Posted: Thu Jun 14, 2018 11:31 am
by Glenn Brooks
I’ve been told a number of times by people in the insurance industry that the actual premium paid to the underwriter is generally half or less of the price you pay to the agent. One reason you pay $3000 for liability insurance is the agent won’t do the paperwork and service the policy for $250 or even $500. Its not worth their time for anything less that a grand, or $1500. They always talk about risk, but it’s not about risk. It’s really all about where they want to spend their time and how much they can charge.

Re: liability Insurance

Posted: Thu Jun 14, 2018 12:15 pm
by rkcarguy
I don't doubt that Glenn. When I was researching insurance costs for Karting I couldn't even get a response from any of the agents I tried. As we were a club, I was able to go direct to the two largest providers and get quotes. Even then though, I was quoted an annual flat price that made it a go large or go home type thing, and schedule simply wasn't available for 20 events.

Re: liability Insurance

Posted: Thu Jun 14, 2018 12:31 pm
by RussellCofIdaho
rkcarguy wrote:
Thu Jun 14, 2018 11:18 am
Lets look at it another way....
My opinion on the risk level of riding a large scale train:
From highest to lowest risk...

Motocross-Dirt bikes
Skiing/Snowboarding
Riding Horses
Quads
River rafting/Kayaking
Mountain biking
Roller coaster ride
Contact sports
Boating
Driving your car
Kart Racing
Hiking
*Large scale trains*
Riding the bus

Interestingly enough, kart racing was identified at around the same level of risk as hiking by insurance companies when I was researching it, provided all the safety measures and gear are in place.
Interesting list, I agree with it. I was at the Emmett Cherry Festival yesterday and my daughter was grooming the ponies, I asked the owners about insurance, they were able to get 'Outfitters Insurance' for $1500 a year which allows them to do fairs, private parties and actual back country trips. I will be contacting their insurer, maybe I should use miniature horses to pull the train, that would be an attention getter!!!

Re: liability Insurance

Posted: Thu Jun 14, 2018 4:46 pm
by Glenn Brooks
Russell let us know what you find out. Maybe tell him there is at least one other guy looking for insurance, maybe more.

If one of these agents can make a payday out of 3,4, or 5 policies, maybe it will encourage them to work with the hobby, or st least quote a reasonable rate for the group.

Glenn

Re: liability Insurance

Posted: Thu Jun 14, 2018 10:34 pm
by RussellCofIdaho
I replied earlier but it looks like it didn't take...

Yes, excellent idea, group coverage usually lowers rates if there are few claims. Even if joining the group requires rigerous safety rules, I think that is totally manageable, I am used to FRA rules and except for the volumes of compliance paperwork, it really isn't difficult as long as you follow a checklist...

Re: liability Insurance

Posted: Fri Jun 15, 2018 10:34 am
by timmy wheeler
I too have been considering getting insurance for my home railroad.

Timmy

Re: liability Insurance

Posted: Fri Jun 15, 2018 11:12 am
by Glenn Brooks
Timmy, can you give us a brief description of your RR- gauge, type of locomotive, length of track, public or private operational method? Both Russel and I are actively contacting Insurance agents. General speaking they need this preliminary detail to assess risk and cost

Thanks
Glenn

Re: liability Insurance

Posted: Fri Jun 15, 2018 12:50 pm
by RussellCofIdaho
Here is what I wrote to one insurer and plan on sending to 3 others, any tips?
I have been discussing this with several other railroaders and now have at least 5 interested in starting some kind of group. We are all over the US and each have different private operations but would having such a group help much in costs?

I have the ability to contact about 10,000 in the US and I am sure at least a portion would be interested.

What kind of basic information about our railroad operations would you need to get better pricing?

I am a trained professional brakeman on the Sumpter Valley Railroad tourist operation so am used to dealing with FRA safety rules which are not difficult to follow if you have checklists, I think we could use a modified version of this for our small trains. The daily written reports are probably more than we need for a private operation though...

I am working on proposals from several insurers so this isn't just pie-in-the-sky.😊

Re: liability Insurance

Posted: Fri Jun 15, 2018 4:42 pm
by Glenn Brooks
Russell,

Sure, good idea to put something together. I’ve beeen sending out email requests also. Maybe one out of two agents has replied thus far. I expected more, but perhaps after a few days we’ll see additional replies. So far, the few I’ve heard from said they don’t have a plan for this kind of risk. The big insurance push for the amusement industry as a whole is fall and early winter. This is the time for vacation and park inspections. So maybe timing is off a little for underwriters who deal in this sector.

As to approach, I would caution that many in the live steam side of things will likely not buy into adopting any part of FRA rules or operating practices for privately owned, non commercial miniature train operation. I do think we should focus on the first of the three major RR groups: e.g. live steamers, rather than park operators, or the commercial, 24”+ gauge folk. Reason being, Park operators went to great lengths back in the 1920’s to separate themselves from FRA requirements. Both the FRA and Concessionares have been very resistant to crossing that boundary ever since. And the Live Steam group, the largest of all, wants nothing to do at all, with replacing their excellent safety and operating practice with either commercial Amusement Park requirements, or FRA requirements. So perhaps better not to mix the three groups.

Seems like the unmet need here is to develop coverage specifically for a privately owned and operated miniature train pool -providing liability for occasional public run days, for example: holidays and/or weekends, and occasional neighborhood BBQ’s or events.

For excellent safety practice and extremely low risk, we can draw on affiliation with the more than 100 live steam clubs around the US that have developed exceptional safety inspection and operating guidelines. Also the live steam hobby has a very supberb safety record and extremely low risk profile, compared to FRA operators or Amusement Park concessionaires. For example there has never been a reported boiler explosion, or injury, resulting from a hobby boiler in 75 years. So,I think, better to emulate the live steam model.

Glenn