The main insurable risk exposures to at-grade rail projects are orientated around the extent of varying exposures along the alignment and the testing and commissioning risk once rolling stock is added to the project. Works which include major structures such as tunnel/box stations, bridges and over/underpasses bring additional significant engineering challenges.
As our clients are fully aware, the alignment risk profile of one rail project can vary hugely from another due to a huge range of factors including exposure to natural catastrophe hazards and extreme weather conditions. Not only heavy rainfall but also extreme temperatures can cause damage, hinder progress and affect material performance. Steep cuttings and embankments or the general topography of the alignment can bring significant landslide risks which can be difficult to remediate. Theft of site materials can also be a concern with storage being required over an extended and often remote site.
There is significant potential for damage or injury to third parties; projects with significant alignments often come into close proximity to existing properties and businesses; many of which may already be adverse to the project works taking place. Pollution and nuisance claims from third parties are not uncommon.
Metro projects often involve tunnelling or works in urban areas. Aside from the usual concerns for people and property, there can be a complex and poorly recorded array of subterranean utility services to navigate. Damage to city infrastructure can lead to significant business interruption and claims from third parties.
Unless the project is entirely greenfield, many rail and metro projects will need to tie into existing operational rail sections which can heighten this third party exposure and adds complexity to the insurance programme to be put in place.
The sharing of risk between the various project parties during testing and commissioning needs to considered and factored into the insurance programme. Who is responsible for insuring the rolling stock versus the rail network and what happens if a defect in one causes damage to the other?
Monitoring and controlling factors like material quality, compaction, drainage, and adherence to specifications throughout the construction process can be challenging. Insurers are likely to apply a sections clause which specifies the maximum distance over which they are prepared to insure uncompleted sections of rail works; their concern being that a major weather event causes significant damage across the extent of the alignment.
"Who is responsible for insuring the rolling stock versus the rail network and what happens if a defect in one causes damage to the other?"
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