July 16, 2009 | Mark Paradies

Cost of an Accident: Insurers Brace to Pay Estimated $100 Million in Claims from Washington Metro Accident

Cost of an Accident

Bloomberg reports that insurers are bracing for an estimated $100 million in claims from the recent Washington Metro collision.

The article also goes on to say:

Insurers may raise rates for train coverage, as well as aviation insurance after the Air France crash off the cost of Brazil and the Yemeni Airbus accident in the Indian Ocean.

People who are calculating the potential return on investment for preventing an accident need to consider all the costs – not just the immediate costs.

The cost to replace all the older cars (300 total) that are more susceptible to damage is $900 million. The NTSB recommended upgrading or replacing the older cars to make them more crashworthy after a 1996 Metro accident.

The cost to fix the problems with the automatic train control system still isn’t known because the cause of the failure of the system is still unknown.

Interim Corrective Actions

However a “free” interim corrective action, placing the old cars in the middle of the trains – where they are more protected in an accident – had not been implemented before the crash. It is being used now, after the latest crash. I haven’t seen a reason for this interim corrective action not being used (or considered?) before the current crash in any of the press reports that I’ve read.

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