QBE has signed a six-year deal with Network Rail, brokered by Aon, to provide a range of insurance services.

The programme, which includes business interruption and cross class liability cover, was designed to give Network Rail certainty during the next phase of its government funding, which runs for five years from March 2009.

The contract also includes a memorandum of understanding on claims, designed to provide flexibility in the event of a crisis.

Ash Bathia, managing director of casualty for QBE European Operations, said: “Continuity and stability are key requirements for policyholders, but particularly for those, such as Network Rail, that operate on the basis of phased funding. Our ability to respond to Network Rail’s needs with such an innovative contract reflects both the breadth and depth of the underwriting research and actuarial analysis which QBE has built up during its five-year partnership with Network Rail and its broker, Aon, and our focus on taking a fresh look at business risks.”

Ian Thompson, head of group insurance, Network Rail, said: “QBE and Aon made it their business to understand the structure and risk management of the UK rail industry which benefited the rail sector at a period when capacity was scarce. They have used this experience and knowledge to provide a highly innovative, sustainable and equitable solution for a six-year period, which provides tremendous stability, continuity and sense of partnership to both sides.”

QBE has been insuring Network Rail’s operations since 2002.