Bill Snead, president of Wichita-based AOPA Insurance (Booth No. C10424)–a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association–put it most succinctly when he presented the company’s new options to members at NBAA 2013. “FBOs are our primary targets with our new commercial insurance offering. Beyond that, we are ready to insure corporate flight departments to a very high limit of liability,” he told AIN. “We know we can offer competitive rates, and that’s exciting.”
NationAir (Booth No. N5311) announced at NBAA 13 that it has created an aviation product liability division, to be lead by 15-year insurance veteran Jamie Benthusen. The company, founded in 1978, has pioneered specialized insurance programs, with clients in 30 countries worldwide.
“Our products liability division is part of our commitment to provide the full spectrum of risk management for our aftermarket aviation suppliers. It is a natural progression to extend our services through the supply chain,” said Jeffrey Bauer, president of NationAir.
AOPA Insurance–a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association–is expanding its offerings to cover business aviation. “FBOs are our primary targets with our new commercial insurance offering. Beyond that, we are ready to insure corporate flight departments to a very high limit of liability,” company president Bill Snead told AIN.
Unlike real estate lenders, most aircraft lenders don’t require title insurance, so airplane buyers rarely even know about it, let alone purchase it. That can be a big mistake.
Insurance is a necessity that operators hope never to put to use, but with operating costs, especially for fuel, running so high, any opportunity to save money is always welcome. Insurance underwriter USAIG is helping lower costs with its new Performance Vector Plus program, which can save flight departments as much as 15 percent on insurance premiums.
Zenith Aviation, a distributor of Dornier 328 parts and spares, is seeking multiple aircraft parts and spares consignment opportunities. The company recently invested more than $3 million in additional climate-controlled warehouse space and an automated inventory storage and retrieval system. The 44,000-sq-ft warehouse can hold up to 500,000 individual line items. According to the company, the consignor retains title to the parts until they leave the Zenith warehouse.
The Independent Fixed Base Operators Association (Ifboa) announced last month that it has now surpassed the 500-member-company mark. Founded in 2006, the group includes FBO operators, flight schools, repair stations and aircraft management and sales firms among its ranks.
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.
There has hardly been a better time to be a buyer of business aircraft insurance, according to aviation insurance brokers, underwriters and industry consultants that AIN canvassed for this article. All signs definitely point to a buyer’s market, with some customers almost able to name their own price. While rates are already low, they could descend even further over the next 12 months if the industry stays on its current course.
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