Special Stage Forums banner

1 - 20 of 61 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,368 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
When we approach an insurance carrier and they ask "What are you going to do differently so this pattern of losses does not continue?", what will our answer be?

Do we tell them that lightning only strikes 8 times in the same place, not 9?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,132 Posts
Obviously our health and safety is most important. Bearing that in mind...

1. Maybe this has been done but I think w should get a real good feel for how a competitive insurance carrier can be. My dad was faced with the seemingly impossible task of keeping all the Himes kids on an insurance policy. He somehow did it. I'm telling my kids to get their own insurance.

2. It's not the risk that is killing rally. It's the rising costs. Keep costs down, more entries will follow, more entries means more revenue.

Q: How do we keep costs down to create this effect that begins to grow itself?

A: I think this is where it has to start.
http://www.specialstage.com/forum/cgi-bin/DCForumID11/50.html
The organizers are the foundation.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,368 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
There's good reasons we're in this jam, it's not just evil insurance companies and the SCCA.

It's us.

We, as a rally community own this problem.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,258 Posts
A totally random thought that may not apply here. In the health care situation, rates for a group are usually cheaper than individual membership. Would there be any advantage to having ALL rallying the the states insured under one umbrella type policy? I know this dosen't address your question of reducing risk. Not that we should ever stop trying to reduce risk, but it's seems to be impossible to reduce it past a certain point and I'm not sure how to get it as low a possible or how to know when we're at that point.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
274 Posts
This is a difficult question to answer without more data. I've never seen a published report on exactly what kind of risk rally is dealing with.

I know there have been incidents in the past. Did those incidents result in claims? If so, did the insuarance pay out and how much?

I'd love to see hard facts on this.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,132 Posts
RE: We need a real good dose of tough love, real quick

How are we going to save ourselves from ourselves?

Spectators being dangerous-

Get as many roaming spectators out of the woods as possible. Cancel stages if necessary. We have nothing to lose by getting REAL tough on specatators not behaving and everything to gain. Think about what happened yesterday. The best way to do this is to give specatators something to do besides tromp through the brush. I proposed the idea of an information overload W.A.R.T. back at the headquarters to keep the casual spectator from taking up space out in the woods.

Also, improve the options people have other than roaming about the woods. This could be done with more variety in spectator options. Make many more spectator points. We better find a way to make it work.

Drivers being dangerous-

Given the current state of our sport I think we need some real tough love. Slow the cars down. All of them. Impose Group F as the only class. Mandate maximum weights and slow cars down to help reduce the number of cages bending around trees. Tough love.

Removing the bling and glitz of fancy cars is just what we need, IMO. We should take a few years off from trying to be something we aren't and work on safety and skill at the BASE level. Would it be all that bad if we ran slower 2wd cars? Let's focus on substance. The model of letting me get whatever car I want to and rod it around the woods isn't working. It's not the root cause but it sure enables dangerous tendencies.

Some of you might argue that getting rid of fancy cars and limiting the hardware we can run will kill the sport. Think about what happened yesterday.

This is just brainstorm stuff. Let's share ideas. I won't laugh at yours if you don't laugh at mine. Feel free to be constructive, though.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,132 Posts
>This is a difficult question to answer without more data.
>I've never seen a published report on exactly what kind of
>risk rally is dealing with.
>
>I know there have been incidents in the past. Did those
>incidents result in claims? If so, did the insuarance pay
>out and how much?
>
>I'd love to see hard facts on this.

I sure would have liked my former club to present these ideas to the membership.

We need to get our best minds on this. Pete Lyons should post and tell us everything he knows about insurance issues. I have a hunch we could find a more competitive solution.
 

·
Dirt surfer
Joined
·
1,367 Posts
"There's good reasons we're in this jam, it's not just evil insurance companies and the SCCA.

It's us.

We, as a rally community own this problem."

Well said, M Hurst.

In a larger sense, this problem is owned by US society as a whole. The concept of personal responsibility, and assuming of some personal risk when participating in an activity that involves some level of personal risk (driving or spectating rallies, for instance) seems to be a foreign idea here.

As long as people reflexively look for someone else to blame when things go wrong, we'll continue to have these headaches.

On a brighter note, US rally organizers could do--and should do-- a better job of PR and outreach to spectators: What rallying is, who the teams are, about the sport's Euro roots and traditions, AND the concept of spectators needing to be smart about when-where-how they watch events.

Each event in the CARS series publishes a magazine-format spectator guide, covering the history of the event, previous winners, the favorites for this year, etc. These do wonders for producing an informed, aware audience...without which, rallying in the US is (and will continue to be) hurting.

Ciao,

Dave G

PS--CARS events post prominent yellow-triangle signs all around the stages and spectator areas: "WARNING: MOTORSPORTS ARE DANGEROUS"...just so nobody can claim to be unaware of the issue.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
789 Posts
>This is a difficult question to answer without more data.
>I've never seen a published report on exactly what kind of
>risk rally is dealing with.


James--You will never "see" the facts. This stuff (insurance costs, claim handling and settlements) is "confidential"--as mandated by the carriers and their counsel. It will never be posted on the Internet.

You can bet your bippy, however, that all incidents you may know of, however, resulted in handling by the insurer in some fashion or another.

The risk is obvious and uncontrollable. Think race cars on public streets (with civilian traffic) and uncontrollable spectator situations on stage. The risk is not with the car occupants; they are all on releases.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
79 Posts
RE: What are the risks?

Here are a few thoughts from north of the border... What makes a U.S. rally any more dangerous than a Canadian event?
The insurance companies here have been increasing their rates and changing their rules (seems quite regularily since 9/11), but not to the point of seriously jeapordizing events. To my knowledge, CDN events have only had minor property damage claims in the past few years. Have there been major claims at some US events that have dictated higher premiums? Is there an issue with public safety (spectators getting hurt or killed)on stages at US events? Did the SCCA events have enough educated volunteers working as safety marshals to control the spectators on a live stage? It is common practice up here to control when and where a spectator can view the rally. If spectators do not adhere to our rules, we will and have cancelled stages:'( .
For the past 3 years the Makita Bighorn Rally in Edson, Alberta has been running a specialstage (gravel/asphalt) thru the middle of a small community without any issues. Town/County meetings were held to educate the community, concrete barriers installed through-out the course to protect people and property, and LOTS of volunteers (marshals & ham radio)for crowd control. The stage is a huge success with the competitors and the spectators! :7 All that I am saying is, why can we run in-town stages, when the SCCA can not afford insurance to run forest stages?
Are the stage speeds that much different in the US? CARS events will not allow stage averages to exceed 120KM/H. If it does, the stage will need to be slowed before it can be used again. I don't believe that the rally cars are MUCH different than in Canada. So, where are the differances?
I know that the US has waaaay too many lawyers (sorry Andrew), perhaps that is the main problem.
I have not had the opportuntity to attend a US event, so I appoligize if some of my questions are stupid.
Andy
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
You're exactly right Dave, it's the U.S. society as a whole that's caused this problem, along with many many many more in regards to liability and insurance. I'm sure we'll find a work around though, and keep paying outrages insurance premiums that will hand out money to the families and creditors of the dead - not bring back life. Until americans will start taking responsibility for themselves and their actions, this is going to be an increasingly painful struggle. I am very sorry for anyone, spectator, driver or otherwise, that has been hurt in this sport, but they took on the same risks I take on when I co-drive and I accept the possibility that I could get seriously injured and expect NO ONE to pay me a red dime if such an even were to occur.

We, as a society of not just racers but Americans, have GOT to stop bleeding ourselves with insurance. The only way to do that is to start putting personal responsibility for our own actions back into our legal system (mainly by stripping away a bunch of junk that has collected there) and stop trying to save people from themselves. If a registered spectator decides to stand in the middle of a road during a stage and gets creamed by an STI, that is there own problem! If the same thing happens to an un-registered spectator, then they are trespassing and if they are not hurt/killed they should be arrested.

As another poster put it though, these are just my thoughts and ideas. Take them for what they are and don't bother flaming me, I wear my forum racing suit 24x7.

~Chris
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
342 Posts
RE: What are the risks?

>Are the stage speeds that much different in the US? CARS
>events will not allow stage averages to exceed 120KM/H.

This is a good idea. Thats pretty damn fast anyway.


>So, where are the differances?
>I know that the US has waaaay too many lawyers

Yep, you hit the nail on the head. Since there are to many lawyers and also the way that some get paid (some only get paid if they win so the client has nothing to loose if they don't get their case) rally insurance will always be more expensive in the states.

Perhaps we could approach insurance companies and ASK THEM what they would want to see in order to get insurance down to $X. That way we could go after it and have a better defined goal in mind. So what are the dos and don'ts that we should try to adhere to?

Spectating is cool. I like it. I LOVE rally. Spectating isn't as cool for newbies. Lets make it cooler with LOTS of spectator points. The more the better. The safer the better.

-matt himes
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
274 Posts
>>This is a difficult question to answer without more data.
>>I've never seen a published report on exactly what kind of
>>risk rally is dealing with.
>
>
>James--You will never "see" the facts. This stuff
>(insurance costs, claim handling and settlements) is
>"confidential"--as mandated by the carriers and their
>counsel. It will never be posted on the Internet.


My apologies, Joe, if you are in an official position with the SCCA, and I'm just not aware of it- but could anybody at PRB level or similar corroborate this?

Thanks,

-james
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
479 Posts
RE: What are the risks?

I have never understood the anti-spectator way of thinking. Spectators are a far more important element of the sport than the competitors, if growth and promotion is desired. Huge revenue is out there for the taking if organizers would take notice. Pay a fee, sign a waiver, wear a wristband, hand out flyers with suggested areas to watch from. Give people some freedom for god's sake! Closing down a stage because an enthusiastic fan has hiked in and earned a decent spot to watch from is absolutely ridiculous! Rallying is dangerous! So is skiing, biking, and crossing the street. I hope whatever new sanctioning body comes to our rescue will realize that there are thousands of people across the country that love to spectate, but don't want to stand 200 yards from the road behind caution tape on a straightaway. Safety CAN be acheived without taking away people's right to watch a motorsport event from wherever they feel like hiking to. Socialism Sucks! Rallying is Awesome!

Later,

Aaron McConnell
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
156 Posts
No matter what rules or procedures we come up with to reduce risk at events, you must have event Organizers that are "willing" and able to follow the rules and procedures. If you tell an insurance company that you have all these great safety rules in place and then the Organizers refuse, or are unable to follow these rules, what is the insurance company to think? I'd say you're uninsurable because you can not be trusted to do what you say you are going to do.
 

·
400 flat to crest
Joined
·
5,777 Posts
Mike, you've been around rallying for a while....
What do _you_ think we can do?

You know that I have been pushing for 10 years one form or another of a simpler 2wd normal aspirated class to be the sole Driver's Championship class ,so if you want to have the title >National Rally Champion< you will have a big incentive to choose a 2wd Normal Aspirated car, and since racers have big egos, I believe some would switch, and it take a bit more skill in a non turbo car to reach speeds and a bit more skill to brake and especially corner and accellerate when the is just 2wd.
That might make the ease which completely untrained but big dollar newbies can reach those very high speeds a bit more difficult and that might make things a bit safer.
Of course if they want to drive their turbo 4wd cars there should be a class they can play in, but do something to shift the emphasis away.

But what do YOU think?




John Vanlandingham
Seattle, WA. 98168

Vive le Prole-le-ralliat!
Vive Le Groupe F!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
946 Posts
>When we approach an insurance carrier and they ask "What
>are you going to do differently so this pattern of losses
>does not continue?", what will our answer be?
>
>Do we tell them that lightning only strikes 8 times in the
>same place, not 9?

The biggest problem we've had is the rapid increase in speed of the typical team. But the average team is coming into the sport with as much experience as they always have... some have a lot, some have none. But the cars available are much much better than say in the late 70's.

I think the biggest reason for this is the WRX. Its become fairly "cheap" (all things being equal), to field a very fast competitive WRX for under $25k. There are currently 3 4wd turbo's with history for sale around $30k.

The sport has no training wheel system put in place. If I wanted to and had the money, I could call ProDrive and get a WRC car and run it the weekend it cleared customs. I could then go drive it at 15/10ths in the forest the first weekend after my 16th birthday. Extreme example? Yes. But it is possible for a novice to have a 300 horsepower 4wd with a novice co-driver and be turned loose at the back of the field. Trees hit at 100 mph are very unforgiving.

The only way the sport is going to exist is if the speeds are slowed way down.

You should have to start in a 2wd car. Period. 95% of teams will only race a couple of years anyway. You should have to drive the 2wd car for 1000 event miles before you can switch to a 4wd, and then only by reaching a performance level that takes into effect speed and DNF rate. For every crash dnf, you add 400 miles to the 1000 mile requirement. Making the sport safer, slower and cheaper to start will increase entries.

Certainly at the National level we have too many classes. There should only be 3. 4wd Open, 2wd G5 and 2wd G2. Simpler, and each class actually has multiple cars competing for the championship.

At Divisional level, eliminate 4wd entirely.

At the same time, there needs to continue to be a level between Divisional and National. We do currently have East/West championships that could be this step. At the middle step you could have a 4wd. This would still allow the Divisional guys with the talent and ambition to run a 4wd without having to travel from Maine to California (because only 6-7 guys a year can afford to run the entire national series).

Radical? Yes. But we are at a time, where radical thinking might be the way to go. If we do nothing, eventually the only Rallying in the United states will be on speedvision.

As far as the cars themselves, every latest safety feature should be required. If you look inside the cockpit of a Nascar car 5 years ago, and look inside now, its way way different. This information has to be available easily.

In the end if the sport is slower and safer, it has to be easier to insure.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
678 Posts
A few ideas. I should start with a disclaimer that I'm not a competitor. I only have a passion for rally and want to see it survive, grow, and become a popular sport like it deserves to be.

First order of business: address the factors that contributed to the serious accidents in the past (fatalities). It doesn't matter that we can't get information on the settlements that were made - we should still be able to see full reports of exactly what happened on each accident. I have never, ever seen any official infomation on what was found about each of them.

Based on the discussions/rumors/information that we have heard here on the forum regarding past rally fatalities, it seems that the main areas to address would be:

1. Speed of cars on stage.
- 1a. Fast roads: Slow them down, reestablish a maximum average speed rule. Put chicanes on stages that are too fast, rearrange them or get rid of them.
- 1b. Fast cars: Put a limit on them, through whatever technical restrictions are necessary - yes, restrictors or whatever it takes. Perhaps establish Group N or "Proto N" as the top class in US rallying. Australia has done this, now New Zealand is doing the same starting next year, and possibly other countries have done this or are planning to do this.

2. Driver preparation.
- 2a. Require one full day of rally driving instruction in order to qualify for a license.
- 2b. Require that new drivers drive 4 cylinder normally aspirated 2wd cars for their first 10 (or whatever, at least 5 or 6) number of events.

3. Roll cage preparation.
- 3a. Require roll cages that comply with FIA roll cage construction rules only.
- 3b. Require that all installation and particularly welding be done by a roll cage builder certified by the sanctioning body.
- 3c. Make the certification standard for becoming an approved roll cage builder strict, but clear and open to anyone willing to prove their skills in roll cage fabrication. If you want to install your own cage, just go through the process of getting approved.

The three items above were all factors in recent rally deaths, to my knowledge. We could do item 4 below to help the situation:

4. Establish a position of "Safety/Risk Czar" in the new sanctioning body/bodies. It should be someone that researches all this stuff, is in touch with other sanctioning bodies around the world, reports findings to members, and has the power to make final decisions regarding any changes. He or She would be a go to person for competitors and insurance providers alike for any safety/issues.

Now, we have to get really tough and effective on these risk factors, and not be wishy washy and worrying about whether it will upset competitors or organizers. If it does, who cares? If something is not done, we won't have ANY competitors or organizers because there won't be rallying. I have followed rallying and been on these message boards and its precursors for 5 years and people just always go on and on that:
"Our roads are NOT too fast"
"Our cars are NOT too fast"
"Our brand new drivers ARE perfectly prepared to handle 400HP AWD cars"
"It's going to be too expensive"
"Competitors will be upset"
"Organizers will be upset"

Two words: Wake Up!!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,258 Posts
RE: What are the risks?

>I have never understood the anti-spectator way of thinking.
>Spectators are a far more important element of the sport
>than the competitors, if growth and promotion is desired.
>
>Aaron McConnell

You'll ceratainly be taken to task for that inaccurate statement, eventually. I don't have the time or energy to tell you why that's all wrong.
 

·
straight at T
Joined
·
2,472 Posts
RE: What are the risks?

>Here are a few thoughts from north of the border... What
>makes a U.S. rally any more dangerous than a Canadian event?
>The insurance companies here have been increasing their
>rates and changing their rules (seems quite regularily since
>9/11), but not to the point of seriously jeapordizing
>events. To my knowledge, CDN events have only had minor
>property damage claims in the past few years.

If written off cars can be considered minor property damage, yes.

>Have there
>been major claims at some US events that have dictated
>higher premiums?

Yes, there have been deaths and significant injuries. Helicopter medical evacuation has happened on a number of occasions (and who pays for that?). There is at least one lawsuit in progress.

>Is there an issue with public safety
>(spectators getting hurt or killed)on stages at US events?

Yes, two spectators killed.

>Did the SCCA events have enough educated volunteers working
>as safety marshals to control the spectators on a live
>stage? It is common practice up here to control when and
>where a spectator can view the rally. If spectators do not
>adhere to our rules, we will and have cancelled stages:'( .

The main reason CARS has those rules is our new insurer (ASN Canada FIA). It was the ASN board that drove the development of the CARS safety plan. Prior to that the concept of cancelling a stage becaue of spectators outside the designated spectator areas wasn't considered (except in very specific circumstances). The spectator deaths in the US happened just after CARS had instituted the safety plan. The current SCCA safety rules are more draconian than the CARS ones.

>I have not had the opportuntity to attend a US event, so I
>appoligize if some of my questions are stupid.

Nothing wrong with asking. We have, to some extent, been lucky in Canada. We also have a lot less very fast cars. Compare the ratio of AWD vs 2WD at recent events (just the national portion since I had the numbers handy):

Maine (45 cars)
Open/GN/PGT: 36 cars = 80%
G5/G2/P: 9 cars = 20%

Baie (34 cars)
Open/N4/P4: 19 cars = 56%
G2/P1/P2/P3: 15 cars = 44%

Not only are there more cars, but there are more fast cars.

Adrian
 
1 - 20 of 61 Posts
Top