Not Saussure

October 20, 2006

Insurance companies gone mad?

Filed under: Law — notsaussure @ 1:48 pm

Great consternation at the news that

Schoolchildren were left to cross a busy road on their own when their lollipop man went off sick – because teachers were banned from helping by health and safety zealots.

The junior school pupils – some as young as seven – had to dodge rush-hour traffic after council officials ruled that teachers were not sufficiently trained to take over.

Parents yesterday accused the pedantic officials of putting their children’s lives at risk.

One mother opined, since someone had to, that ‘it’s health and safety gone mad‘.

However, I’m willing to bet that, as is so often the case in these matters, it’s a question of cherchez la compagnie d’assurances.   

Teacher undertakes these duties and there’s an accident that leaves him, the motorist  and some of the children severely injured.  Insurance claims certainly, and doubtless compensation claims too.   Court holds that accident was caused, at least in part, by the teacher’s negligence.  

Anyone want to start sorting out who is going to be liable for what?  In particular, what’s the council’s liability for an accident caused by asking someone to carry out duties that apparently require special training — and, if they don’t, why does the council waste taxpayers’ money providing training to its lollypop staff? —  that they knew he hadn’t had?  Does his professional liability insurance cover him, and what about his mortgage protection policy? 

Can you blame everyone’s insurance companies for advising them against getting involved, since none of them want to pay out the company’s funds if someone else should be paying and none of them want to get involved in costly litigation with other insurance companies.

I’m saying this is necessarily a desirable state of affairs, but I’m not at all sure it’s fair to blame ‘health and safety zealots’; ‘people being prudent with other people’s money that’s been entrusted to them’, possibly.


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