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Risk management and roller coasters

Roller coaster It is hard to believe that the summer is winding down and the kids are heading back to school. My kids start today.

Our summer was filled with camping trips (no roughing it for me though – camper all the way!), family reunions and a vacation to Florida. Of course we had to go to the amusement parks – Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure.

Surprisingly – several of the rides had some technical difficulties while we were there and we had to either wait an extended period of time or we had to return later in the day.

I always get a little nervous when I hear “we apologize for your delay – we are experiencing technical difficulties.” Especially if the technical difficulty is happening to a roller coaster that I am planning on riding.

If any of you have visited these parks, you are aware that they have a lot of special effects – some with water and several with fire.  So with these types of special effects you never know how serious the “technical difficulty” is. 

My family and I love amusement parks.

So far, we have not actually been on a ride where we have suffered any injury or even seen anything go wrong with their operation. However, it can occur. Earlier this month, 24 people were stuck on a roller coaster in California for almost five hours. Luckily, in this incident, no one was seriously injured.

However, sometimes people aren’t so lucky. Resources show that there have been several incidents over the summer from park employees falling, roller coasters derailing or colliding and boat rides capsizing – causing death.

So what does this have to do with insurance? Amusement parks are large companies – surely they have the right insurance to cover these incidents.  You are probably right.

However, the premise applies to any size company. It comes down to the basics – proper maintenance of equipment, making sure you have visible signage posted for any dangers, have printed employee handbooks and hold regular safety meetings with your employees.

Every business has a risk exposure.

An important way to avoid losses and injuries is to manage that risk. Many insurance companies have resources available for businesses to use and they are FREE. I actually work with some carriers that will send out a loss prevention specialist to help you get maintenance and safety programs implemented. 

So don’t wait until you get stuck on a roller coaster – contact your agent today and start managing your risk.


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