- Costs of railway activity are once again to rise. This time the reason is PLN 100 million of compulsory insurance for carriers - that is, the compulsion for each tracks user to buy a policy in case of causing the most expensive train crash on the continent - warns Jakub Majewski from Pro Kolej foundation. While there still lasts a discussion about reducing barriers for entrepreneurship and moving traffic from congested roads to the tracks, we can see raising another adjustment that will deteriorate the competitiveness of rail. This time it is an attempt to find rather poor solutions against damage associated with railway accidents. Its basis can be found neither in the act on rail transport nor in the law on compulsory insurance. Neither the Insurance Law nor the railway or European law forces carriers to purchase hundred-million policies. Actually, policies in general are not required - because the financial security of railway carriers may be based on bank guarantees, reserves or equity. The initiative is not based also on some the bad experiences with the payment of compensation.
When thinking of development of the rail market, we should reach for the road industry experience. Conducting business on the road - at least from the perspective of nearly overregulated railways - seems to be limited only by the entrepreneur's imagination. Instead of fighting with procedures, one can spend time on self-development of their business and its risks. This relates to the insurance area as well - because it does not devaluate the EU regulations that are quite similar for the road and rail carriers . "Road" regulation EC 1071/2009 determines the amount of liability of the carrier for 9 thousand Euros for the first vehicle and 5 thousand for each next. In order to reach the level of 100 million zł a carrier would have to operate almost 5 thousand vehicles; what is more, in a situation where the risk of accidents in road transport is twenty times higher than on tracks. A similar railway directive 95/18 / EC leaves the assessment to the carriers - because their activities are more diverse. However, the proportions are easy to grasp.
Therefore, administrative attempts to control railway companies and "push" them into a rigid framework of the Law on compulsory insurance will not help the industry. Quite the opposite - this will reduce the freedom of choice, eliminating flexible forms of security and instruments tailored to the specific business. It will also create a pressure on the cost of policies. On the other hand, the protection of victims will not enhance because administratively defined policy can fail to meet the actual events.
It is also possible that the goal of the insurance campaign is to promote the major carriers - able to afford even a hundred-million policy - and to inhibit the entry on the market even more, but reduced competitiveness of the industry will eventually have impact on all its participants. - Jakub Majewski, ProKolej foundation.