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Locomotive and Boiler Insurance

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  • Member since
    January 2024
  • 46 posts
Locomotive and Boiler Insurance
Posted by Conductor_Carl on Saturday, February 10, 2024 10:12 AM

A continuation from my last post. looking for information on how insurance rates for boilers are and were calculated. Also looking for information on if most railroads insured themselfs or went to a outside insurance agency (Hardford Boiler Inspection and Insurance, for example)

I suspect that there is basically no information on this but worth asking.

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Posted by Overmod on Saturday, February 10, 2024 10:57 AM

Did you not read my cite for the National Board on the other post?

Think of them a bit like the Underwriters Laboratories of the pressure-vessel industry.

Insurance companies were at the forefront of scientific boiler evaluation -- and documentation in print -- right from the days that the lap-seam industrial boilers started failing in huge numbers.  I will have to find links for you, but the Hartford in particular had communications addressed to industries they insured about the potential dangers; I have seen similar communications regarding accidental conversion of domestic-hot-water heaters into "boilers" when their piping or pressure regulation became defective.

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Posted by Erik_Mag on Saturday, February 10, 2024 12:50 PM

Overmod

I have seen similar communications regarding accidental conversion of domestic-hot-water heaters into "boilers" when their piping or pressure regulation became defective.

Mythbusters did a number of very spectacular segments of what happens when water heater pressure regulation is disabled.

Railroad museums have (or should have) boiler insurance for operating steam locomotives - I remember an insurance inspector going over Ventura County #2 at Orange Empire circa 1990. His comment on exiting the boiler was it was in better condition than most of the boilers he had inspected.

One other thing that might make railroads cautious about factor of safety is liability, though that wold be a more likely today than 80 years ago.

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Posted by Conductor_Carl on Saturday, February 10, 2024 2:08 PM

Overmod

Did you not read my cite for the National Board on the other post?

Think of them a bit like the Underwriters Laboratories of the pressure-vessel industry.

Insurance companies were at the forefront of scientific boiler evaluation -- and documentation in print -- right from the days that the lap-seam industrial boilers started failing in huge numbers.  I will have to find links for you, but the Hartford in particular had communications addressed to industries they insured about the potential dangers; I have seen similar communications regarding accidental conversion of domestic-hot-water heaters into "boilers" when their piping or pressure regulation became defective.

 

I've read about the National Board, and I've looked at Hartford boiler and am aware of their history. Even read a edition or two of their magazine "The Locomotive." But none of that gets to my question on if any resources exist from a insurance company that guide how they set rates. Again, I suspect that would be held close to the chest and not readily accessible.

 

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Posted by cx500 on Saturday, February 10, 2024 2:53 PM

Insurance rates are essentially a form of corporate betting.  Where there is a big pool of similar policies and claims records, such as for automobiles,the odds of the amount paid out can be calculated with some accuracy and rates are set to cover the costs.  For industrial boilers, likely similar broad experience gives the underwriters reasonable guidance when setting rates.

For more unusual risks, the underwriters have little solid data to go by, and it is mostly guesswork.  The record tells us of no catastrophic excursion derailments or steam engine boiler explosions in recent years, but that is no guarantee that one will not happen under the next insurance contract.  That is why often insurers are reluctant to assume the risk.

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