Muni’s new insurance policy — too late to cover this weekend’s West Portal crash? (update)

Trainwreck4 copy
Photo by 2girls1queen

Update (August 6, 2:17 p.m.): SF Appeal helps answer the question this post asked 18 days ago. Thanks, guys!

Original post: Regular service has resumed after yesterday’s West Portal accident, but the fallout is far from over. The SFAppeal reports that 48 people were injured, four of them critical. Ahem, anybody smell a lawsuit coming? This brings us to a KCBS story that a reader sent to us about how the MTA board approved the purchase of something known as catastrophe insurance, which pays for lawsuits. Pretty sad that such a policy is warranted.

But lo and behold, a mere three days following the board’s vote, an accident more or less validates that decision.

Since the MTA board just voted to purchse the “catastrophe insurance” last Wednesday, we’re not sure if a further vote is necessary to enact the insurance policy. Or does the Board of Supervisors need to approve this?

And does the policy cover Saturday’s crash? We doubt it, unless this is a magic policy that’s magically already in place. It would be nice, if only to cover Muni’s already-broke ass. If the policy isn’t in effect, we foresee the potential for multiple lawsuits. If that happens, does Muni fall into an even deeper hole? Ugh.


  • If MUNI didn’t bind insurance before the accident, there’s no way an insurance company will backdate the policy. (I work in insurance.)

  • Thanks for the update and the insurance explanation. I got more info from your blog than mainstream press. The picture is the best one I have seen. Hard to imagine the impact that caused such damage.

  • intheknowatMUNI

    “The “dead man’s lever” — a spring-loaded grip held by train operators that should stop a train automatically if the driver suddenly keels over.” When Breda delivered Muni’s street cars they were equipped with a dead man’s lever. But because the driver’s union complained that the spring pressure in the lever required ” too much effort” to hold. Muni modified all of the dead man’s levers in-order to keep the driver’s union “happy” MUNI put these cars into service knowing that the “dead man’s levers” required almost no effort to keep the cars running, even if the operator was dead. At that time the driver’s union representative was a full time Muni employee.

  • Aaron

    Muni obtained insurance starting July 1st, which I believe does cover this accident.

    Sorry Pintucked.

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