As an update to my last Insurance Update (dated May 2022), ATHRA and Marsh have continued to roll out more competitive insurance policies (both premiums and policy inclusions) to ATHRA members.

The journey to date is as follows:

  • October 2018 – ATHRA Board seconded Paul Rollason to explore a Group insurance scheme for ATHRA members
  • 2019 – data gathered and brokers approached
  • 2020 – Marsh Insurance Brokers appointed as the ATHRA broker to find group insurance
  • Late 2020 – additional insurance data gathered from members
  • April 2021 – several insurers approached to look at the proposal and place an offer
  • May 2021 – ATHRA commended by insurance broker and prospective insurers for the extensive proposal and gathering of data.
  • June 2021 – Canopius Insurance provided the best Public Liability Insurance (PLI) policy terms/wording and the best premium pool (a premium pool is an amount of money the insurer sets as the minimum to make it a viable business proposition for them to take up).
  • August 2021 – a viable model was determined to set premium based on risk for ATHRA members (this is multifactorial and took considerable time but ATHRA’s proposal was accepted by Canopius and was considered to be an outstanding way to access risk)
  • September 2021 – reinsurance secured
  • October 2021 – ATHRA/Marsh policies being placed saving members considerable money

The insurances that are currently being sourced and placed at competitive premiums include:

  • Public Liability Insurance (PLI)
  • Association Liability Insurance (or Directors Insurance)
  • Voluntary Workers Insurance

ATHRA and Marsh are helping groups save even more money buy packaging up the three insurance policies.

PLI insurance savings

Some examples of what ATHRA members have saved include (members names have been excluded for privacy reasons):

Existing PLI policy Marsh/ATHRA Policy Saving % Saving
$10,200 $2,541 $7,659 75%
$4,750 $1,925 $2,825 59%
$52,250 $47,500 $4,750 9%
$10,261 $8,455 $1,806 18%
$9,044 $4,820 $4,224 47%
$13,430 $12,964 $466 3%*
$85,000 $72,930 $12,070 14%
$3,505 $2,098 $1,407 40%
* although this savings was small, the group was happy to come across to help the tourism and heritage rail industry as a whole These examples cover static museums, small isolated narrow-gauge operators, branch line operators and main line operators and as you can see some of the savings are significant and to smaller groups this saving is proportionally even larger. The following statistics are for the insurance (PLI only) uptake and are up until 6 June 2022
  • 35 groups have provided updated proposals requests forms to ATHRA/Marsh (up from 22 last month)
  • 26 groups have been provided terms/quotes from Marsh (up from 18 last month)
  • 17 have taken up on the offer (6 more than last month) – and there will be several more before 30 June
  • groups have received terms/quotes and are yet to respond

Providing quotes

June is the busiest time of year for brokers/insurers. Providing proposals for those policies expiring 30 June has been slower than expected due to the sheer volume of renewals at this time of year. Insurers are taking 4-6 weeks to provide quotes.

Several groups have also taken up Voluntary Workers Insurance and Association Liability (Directors’) Insurance. Unfortunately, we are currently less competitive in this. However, the Marsh team have started exploring Group policies and Canopius (our PLI insurer) wishes to assist with Volunteers’ Insurance cover.

As part of this process, we are exploring ways to extend the benefits to under 18 years and over 70 years of age for Voluntary Workers insurance as most of our groups have members in these age brackets especially the 70+ year old bracket.

To date we have 48.5% of the PLI premium pool covered and we still have some way to go to ensure the scheme is viable. This percentage is likely to exceed 58% by 30 June 2022.

By now your state coordinators should have contacted each and every ATHRA member to find out your renewal dates for the above-mentioned policies. ATHRA needs this information to ensure Marsh can provide you with an offer/quote at least 30 days prior to your policy renewal date. Marsh simply cannot issue quotations for all ATHRA members that have applied in one go as by law new information needs to be gathered not more than 60 days prior to the renewal date. However, if you would like an indication of what your premium would be, you can simply write to me with updated insurance details, and we would be happy to provide you with an estimate.

We ask that ATHRA members DO NOT use the Marsh quote to better their own current premium as this will just undermine all the hard work ATHRA has done. We are counting on getting at least a 70% of ATHRA members taking ATHRA/Marsh PLI insurance so that the system stays viable. Remember, by being a part of the scheme you are not just helping yourselves, but you are helping the entire rail heritage sector in Australia.

Marsh will continue to roll out letters of offer (aka quotes) 4-8 weeks before your policy is due to be renewed (provided we actually have your renewal dates — if you have not yet advised these dates, please advise me as a matter of urgency). Should you wish to get a quote earlier so that you can consider cancelling your existing policy to get a better rate, then please email me and I will forward your request to Marsh.

Developing policy coverage to suit ATHRA members

Our next task is to seek competitive terms for the layer of insurance coverage above $20M. We are currently negotiating with the market for those ATHRA members who require this level of cover ($20-50M) which has been harder than anticipated. Part of the issue is the small number of members who require this secondary layer which makes it difficult to get a favorable premium as insurers set a minimum premium pool. However, with two additional members requiring the secondary layer of cover coming forward in the last week, we are now very close to achieving this.


As you can see considerable amount of work has been done taking far longer than both ATHRA or Marsh had anticipated. However, we not only delivered PLI, Association Liability and Voluntary Workers insurance, but we have got a great result. In fact, the small ATHRA membership fee is well outweighed by the significant savings on PLI insurance alone.

I encourage ALL tourist & heritage rail groups across Australia not only to join ATHRA and take advantage of the cheaper insurance but also the other emerging benefits of ATHRA (ATHRA training, marketing, promotions, etc.).

Remember, united we are stronger than fighting alone.

Report by
Paul Rollason
ATHRA Deputy Chairman
Board Member — Insurance
Association of Tourist & Heritage Rail Australia Inc