Product liability insurance isn’t your everyday policy. “Without experience in aviation law, regulations and coverages, generalist insurers don’t understand the risks,” explained Jaime Benthusen, product liability director for NationAir Aviation Insurance (Booth No. 5105). Benthusen was on hand at Heli-Expo 2014 to introduce the company’s product liability coverage and risk assessments for rotor-wing aftermarket parts firms.
Types of insurance
Last year marked another year of relatively soft rates in the general aviation insurance market, according to aviation insurance broker NationAir’s annual market analysis, released yesterday. “While the market conditions have remained the same for several years, the reasons for that soft market are changing,” noted company president Jeff Bauer.
Initially, increased market competition pushed rates down, he said. “Now, however, rates are being held down by the more long-term forces of structural overcapacity and, thankfully, favorable loss history.”
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.”
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.
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.
The Middle East Business Aviation Association (MEBAA) general assembly elected two new board members yesterday and held a workshop for its MEBAA aviation insurance scheme (MAIS). Saudia Private Aviation managing director Wajdi Al Idrissi and Comlux president and CEO Richard Gaona were elected to the association’s board, where they join other industry leaders to promote business aviation in the Middle East.
Aviation insurer Chartis has added crisis response coverage to aviation policies for corporate customers, including airports and charter management companies. The new product provides customers access to immediate funds for crisis management costs resulting from a catastrophic event. With the coverage, policyholders can receive up to $250,000 of additional policy limits for costs associated with hiring a crisis management firm to help manage reputation risk, as well as for other crisis-related expenses, such as temporary living, travel, counseling, medical and funeral costs.
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