Negotiations on equal terms
A collision between a fast train of the Swiss South Eastern Railway (SOB) and a three-wheeled motorcycle, a so-called trike, developed into a complex insurance case in autumn 2010. The rider of the motorcycle had touched a crash barrier and was thrown off, but his trike went down a slope and only came to a halt on a track. Fortunately, no one was injured, but there was a high level of material damage to the train and tracks of over two million Swiss francs. At first it seemed clear that the rider of the trike would have to pay for the costs. But since 2010, the situation looks a bit different: That year, a revision of the Swiss Railway Act took place, which states that due to the operational hazards arising from railway operations, railway companies must be liable without fault not only for personal injury but now also for property damage. Therefore, although the SOB had nothing to reproach itself for, the new liability regulation meant that the SOB was to share in the property damage it had suffered itself. “With this case of damage, we were probably one of the first railway companies that had to experience the tightening of the legislation one-to-one,” says Marianne Reisner-Schmid, member of the management board at SOB. “Funk guided us safely and reliably through the negotiations thanks to their extensive experience and specialist expertise. Since Funk also enjoys a high level of respect among insurers, we were able to conduct our negotiations on equal terms – and conclude them with a very satisfactory result for SOB.” Because instead of the basic rule of the liability quota, according to which the railway company has to contribute two thirds of the property damage, Funk was able to achieve, by referring to cantonal and federal court decisions and with the help of its own lawyer, that the trike driver's liability insurer had to take over the main part of the property damage. The SOB was thus able to spare its own insurance policy for the most part, and discussions about possible premium increases were not an issue.