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What insurance do I need as a rail consultant?

If you offer consultancy services to the rail sector, you will know this is a challenging and broad role that demands a range of skills and often unique knowledge in how the industry operates.

From consulting on health and safety and risk management, workplace surveys and training, strategy and economics, through to engineering and operations, advice underpins everything – so success means coordinating all these aspects of the role to deliver for your customers.

A heavily regulated sector brings risk

The demanding nature of the rail consultant role is compounded by the challenges inherent in the rail industry. This is one of the most highly regulated sectors, but also one of the most potentially hazardous.

It is this combination of regulation and hazard that inevitably creates unique professional indemnity and general liability risks, even for the most experienced and diligent of consultants.

Rail consultant insurance requirements

With that in mind, it’s fair to say that nearly all rail consultants will be required to hold specific insurance protections – not only to address the risks inherent in the role, but also as a stipulation of their contracts with customers.

Rail consultant insurance requirements can include:

  • Professional indemnity insurance ‒ if you’re accused of making a mistake in your professional services, even if you disagree, you will need to be able to defend yourself. Professional indemnity cover will support you with legal and compensation costs that flow from claims your customers make against you.
  • Public liability insurance ‒ if someone brings a claim against you because they’ve been injured or their property has been damaged and they believe you have caused it, public liability insurance will help you with the costs of compensation and the legal expenses of defending the claim.
  • Employers liability insurance – while this cover is a legal requirement for most employers, it can also help to address concerns you may be have about an employee suffering an injury at a railways site whilst working for you. Employers liability insurance protects against claims made against you in respect of your legal liability for death, disease or injury sustained by an employee during the course of their employment.
  • Cyber and data breach insurance – cyber-attacks and data breaches can happen all too easily – whether resulting from someone accidentally sharing confidential data with the wrong recipients or a targeted cyber-attack. These incidents can damage your reputation as well as finances, so cyber insurance – to help you act quickly in limiting, rectifying and repairing the damage – can prove an essential cover too.

Rail consultant insurance – mind the gap

Given the challenging and diverse nature of the role, however, rail consultants should review their insurance protection carefully, to ensure that gaps in cover do not leave them exposed.

For instance, when it comes to reviewing your professional indemnity insurance cover, it is worth thinking about extending your policy to include the following:

  • Full civil liability insuring clause ‒ a 'civil liability' policy wording is the widest available form of cover and wider than the usual 'negligence' or 'errors and omissions' wordings. It will cover situations where you may be held liable for a loss without being found to be negligent.
  • Each and every claim limits – this means you will be covered up to the full policy limit for each and every claim, rather than the limit applying ‘in aggregate’ for all claims notified.
  • Costs exclusive basis – this means that legal costs are settled by the insurer in addition to the limit of indemnity, rather than within your policy limit, to help ensure your cover is not eroded by legal fees.
  • Fidelity expressly covered – cover for fraudulent or dishonest acts by your employees.
  • Automatic acquisitions inclusion – this ensures that cover automatically applies to work in respect of any company acquired or formed during the policy period.

In the case of professional indemnity, these extensions will serve to ensure you are covered for a wide range of potential claims scenarios – but, as with any commercial insurances, speaking with an insurance expert in your sector makes a world of difference in getting your cover right.

Matthew Whitehurst, Account Director and rail specialist at Marsh Commercial commented: “Over the past 20 years of arranging insurance for rail companies, I have reviewed hundreds of rail contracts and been involved in real life incidents where insurance has proven invaluable. That is why it remains so important to regularly review cover and ensure you are as well protected as possible.”

Here to help

If you operate a rail company, be that consultant, contractor, train operating company, rolling stock owner, or maintenance facilities, both in the UK and internationally, and you’re concerned about the risks to your business, please contact our rail expert Matthew Whitehurst on 07827158870 or email matthew.whitehurst@marshcommercial.co.uk.

Matthew Whitehurst
An Account Director specialising in the rail sector, Matthew has 20 years' experience of building and enhancing rail insurance programmes and acts for 200+ rail companies of all types including a number of the UK’s leading operators.