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Beazley Safeguard underwriters analyze school transportation risks

Paul Nash

Over the course of 2019, we will produce a series of alerts focused on each of the six target sectors for Beazley Safeguard, our unique offering that combines advanced risk management and proactive crisis response services with effective insurance. We begin with the transportation sector.

School transportation services present a set of discrete risk factors. The regularity of routes and drivers can create situations in which inappropriate conduct can more easily occur, and possibly be pre-planned. There have been several situations where passengers who are "first on/last off" can find themselves particularly vulnerable. 

During 2017-18, transportation risks made up some 20% of the open market Safeguard business we bound. Just over half of those risks were school bus companies, with the rest made up of a diverse range of services, including driving schools, paratransit, public transport and luxury transport providers. We have also bound business in some innovative niches of the US transportation sector, such as on-demand taxi services focused solely on school age children being taken to and from school or after-school activities.  

Improper conduct can also occur between pupils. One of the functions of bus chaperones is to try and prevent this, but it can be difficult to police an entire busload of young passengers for what can often be long journeys. A "student on student" claim in such circumstances may trigger the policy where a "failure to supervise" is alleged against the insured.   

As well as the presence of a chaperone, there are several other features we like to see school bus companies adopt to mitigate/manage risk. In addition to the criminal and abuse registry checks on all employees and volunteers required for any Safeguard risk, many school bus companies have now deployed technology such as GPS or on-board camera systems, which can act as a deterrent.   

Many other transportation subsectors involve smaller groups, or "one-to-one" situations, which can present a very different risk dynamic. We have seen a number of claims involving taxi companies and driving schools/instructors where inappropriate sexual behavior is alleged. The taxi and ride-hailing sector has come under particular scrutiny recently, with allegations of inadequate background checking of drivers involving the most prominent ride-hailing platforms, as well as criticisms of the response when allegations are raised. Allegations of improper sexual conduct place gig and shared economy platforms under particular pressure, as any contention that they are simply a technology platform for introducing, say, driver and passenger can jar. 

Non-emergency medical transportation, which includes services for vulnerable adults, often also involves "one-to-one" situations and can present particular difficulties. Although rare, we have seen claims alleging sexual abuse committed by the care provider while the driver was oblivious to the incident.  

To learn more about our Safeguard offering for your transportation clients and access our policy language and applications, please visit the website or contact the underwriters below.  

London:
Paul Nash
+44 (0)20 7674 7255  

US
Christina Herald
+1 (770) 351 1689

About the author:

Paul is the EPL product leader for both the UK and US teams. Paul has over 25 years experience in the insurance industry and London market in both claims and underwriting roles. Paul holds a Bachelor of Arts degree and has helped to establish Beazley's EPL team as one of the leaders in the market. Paul is frequently requested as a guest speaker and has presented at conferences including ACI, ExecuSummit, The Defense Research Institute and NAPEO.

Paul Nash
Paul Nash

EPL Focus Team Leader & Underwriter