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Risking it on a rollercoaster

Risking it on a rollercoaster

Risking it on a rollercoaster Earlier this week, nine people were injured in a serious rollercoaster accident at M&D’s theme park in North Lanarkshire. The BBC reported on Wednesday three boys involved in the accident are still in hospital with two in a serious condition. Compensation is inevitable. Given the complexity of insuring a risk as intricate as a rollercoaster, Insurance Business UK spoke to an expert.

Marsh and Company is an insurance broker in Leicester that offers products for theme park and farm attractions. Associate Director at Marsh & Co Steve Taylor said assessing risks like these is no easy task.

“I think the key thing is doing a proper fact find,” said Taylor, highlighting some of the key elements that need to be looked at when assessing amusements. A visit to the premises is absolutely necessary, as is looking at what kind of paperwork is in place.

“If it’s a mechanical item, like a fairground item, you need to know if it’s been inspected, if it needs a certain certificate, if it’s got the right certification, if the maintenance is up kept and if there’s documentation confirming the checks,” said Taylor. “It’s not enough to just have an accident log, as it is also necessary for someone to be in place to go over records regularly and find the cause of recurring faults.”

Taylor said how an amusement park handles its staff is also important: “Obviously a lot of these places employ extra staff in the summer, and they still need to have the inception training, plus the training needed to operate the equipment.”

M&D’s have had a number of accidents in recent years. Eight people had to be rescued in March when a ride became stuck, and in 2011 nine people were rescued after being trapped on a rollercoaster for eight hours. In 2006, 18 people had to be rescued after being trapped upside down. Taylor said when Marsh & Co assess businesses for coverage they take a look at past accidents and take into account how they were handled.

The products needed to insure these risks are quite specialist, and Taylor said Marsh & Co have three exclusive wordings at their disposal to cover farm attractions and smaller mechanical rides. He also said surveys are important for everyone involved.

“On all of the insurances that we do on the schemes we guarantee that a survey is done of the insured premises within 60 days of inception,” he said. “I think it’s a really vital thing to have because then the insurers know exactly what they’re seeing, and they know the brokers provide the right information, and the insured has got the satisfaction that they’ve been looked at.”


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