Nationally, public transit systems are seeing a steady increase in liability claim severity, even as ridership declines, according to a new study from Aon.

Aon’s study found that overall public transit liability claim frequency is growing 1 percent annually, with claim severity climbing 2 percent annually. On top of that, overall public transit liability loss rates are growing 3 percent on average each year, according to the report.

Claims severity for the 2018 accident year will increase to an average $14,686 per incident, the report notes. As well, the forecasted 2018 accident year loss rate for bus and rail operations combined is about $51.57 per 1,000 riders, or about 5.2 cents per rider.

Rail and bus operations are seeing somewhat different claims results, however, when the statistics are broken apart.

Aon also found that:

  • The frequency claims rate for bus operations is much higher than for rail operations, with 0.48 percent per 1,000 riders versus 0.12 percent per 1,000 riders, respectively.
  • The claims frequency rate for buses is climbing at 1.5 percent annually but dipping 0.5 percent annually for rail operations.
  • The claims severity rate in 2018 should hit $14,214 on average for buses and $17,979 for rail. Claims severity for buses is growing at 2 percent annually compared to 5.5 percent for rail.
  • The forecasted 2018 accident year loss rate for buses is $67.75 per 1,000 riders, or 6.8 cents per rider, but it hits $20.69 per 1,000 riders for rail, or 2.1 cents per rider.
  • The loss rate for buses is growing 3.5 percent annually but 5 percent annually for rail operations.
  • About 68 percent of claims came from automobile accidents, 92 percent of which stemmed from vehicle-on-vehicle accidents.
  • For claims not connected to automobile accidents, 46 percent came from passengers falling, with 21 percent stemming from problems with entry or exit.
  • About 75 percent of claims for public transit were under $5,000, but this is just 7 percent of the incurred dollars. Just 0.17 percent of claims had a total incurred of $1 million or higher, but these were 35 percent of total incurred dollars.

Aon’s full report is the “2018 Public Transit Benchmark Report: Aon Public Transit Liability Benchmark Analysis.

Source: Aon