Management & Operations

Public transit sees increase in liability claim severity, study says

Posted on December 11, 2018

Compared to other industries, the public transit sector faces some of the greatest exposure to the general public. Photo: SORTA
Compared to other industries, the public transit sector faces some of the greatest exposure to the general public. Photo: SORTA

Nationwide, public transit systems are seeing an increase in liability claim severity according to a new report. This inaugural Aon Public Transit Liability Benchmark Analysis, which examines ridership and operation claims for rail and bus transit agencies, was conducted in conjunction with the American Public Transportation Association.

“Compared to other industries, the public transit sector faces some of the greatest exposure to the general public. These concerns are boosting safety to the top of the priority list for many transit organizations.”

While public transit liability claim severity is up 4% annually, claim frequency showed an increase of only .5% annually. The report breaks down the data, finding that the frequency of bus claims is higher than that of rail claims, while the severity of rail claims is higher than that of bus claims. This is due in part to the fact that buses interact with pedestrians and other road traffic, leaving greater potential for incidents leading to liability claims. The study also found that vehicle-on-pedestrian claims account for 3% of claims, but nearly 40% of incurred loss dollars.

“Compared to other industries, the public transit sector faces some of the greatest exposure to the general public. These concerns are boosting safety to the top of the priority list for many transit organizations,” said Otis Tolbert, rail and transit practice leader for Aon Risk Solutions.

Other statistics from the analysis include:

  •     The forecasted 2016 accident year frequency for bus and rail operations combined is .34% per 1,000 riders, or one occurrence per 295,879 riders.
  •     The forecasted 2016 accident year loss rate for bus and rail operations combined is $39.17 per 1,000 riders, or 3.9 cents per rider.
  •     Approximately 72% of the claims arose from automobile accidents, with 91% of those claims stemming from vehicle on vehicle accidents. Of the claims that did not arise from automobile accidents, approximately 32% arose from passengers falling.

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