In the wake of recent airliner losses, carriers are bracing for substantial increases in insurance premiums when the main renewals season starts on November 1. Insurers have already made massive payouts for hull losses following the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 en route to Beijing and the apparent shooting down of MH17 over eastern Ukraine. Other recent losses have included the crash of Air Algerie’s flight AH5017 in southern Mali and TransAsia Airways flight GE222 in Taiwan. Further unsettling the risk environment for air transport have been recent attacks on airports in Pakistan, Israel, Afghanistan and Libya.
Risk purchasing group
Airlines may still be struggling with rising costs associated with factors such as fuel and taxes, but they are winners when it comes to insurance premiums. New data released by insurance broker Willis shows that premiums have continued to fall this year. “The balance of power in airline insurance purchasing remains firmly in favor of the buyers,” concludes the London-based group in the second-quarter edition of its Airline Insight report released on July 15.
There has hardly been a better time to be a buyer of aviation insurance, as all signs point to a buyer’s market. Several factors are driving lower rates in this insurance segment, including fewer airline accidents, lower overall insurance claims, the economy, more underwriters entering the market, increased adoption of safety management systems and more sophisticated aircraft. AIN talked to David McKay, president and CEO of insurer USAIG, to get a better sense of this market. USAIG and McKay are here at the Paris Air Show supporting long-time customer Bombardier.
Most of us have a love/hate relationship with insurance; we hate paying the premiums but if something goes wrong, we love having someone else who was willing to take the risk resolve many of the headaches. Across the U.S. aviation industry, there are so many insurance companies willing to shoulder the risks that the premiums remain at low levels even for the riskier helicopter segment.