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September 1, 2009
By Alton K. Marsh
A Seattle-based insurance firm, London Aviation Underwriters, has one-upped a competitor by waiving the entire deductible for Cirrus SR20 and SR22 pilots who deploy the parachute to save their lives.
Parachute deployment usually results in a total loss of the airplane, although the occupants in most cases escape injury. If the aircraft is destroyed, a London Aviation official said, it is common for deductibles to be waived by insurance. The new offer simply formalizes that situation. London Aviation was originally founded as part of Lloyds of London.
A London Aviation official said it is unlikely that a pilot, facing a life-threatening situation, will first consider the cost of the deductible before pulling the chute. On the off chance that someone would put expenses ahead of safety, London Aviation officials said they want to remove financial concerns from the decision to pull the chute. In addition, they felt compelled to match a similar offer by Chartis Light Aviation Division.
Earlier in August Chartis released a statement saying it would waive up to $1,000 of deductible costs for pilots pulling the parachute of a Cirrus airplane. The deductible can go as high as $5,000 or more.
“Any time insurance underwriters reward pilots for taking pre-emptive action to either avoid an accident or reduce the injury severity, everyone benefits. This will help to eliminate the nagging fear a pilot might have about using a critical safety system in a critical situation,” said Bruce Landsberg, president of the AOPA Air Safety Foundation.
AOPA Pilot Senior Editor Alton Marsh has been a pilot since 1970 and has an airline transport pilot certificate and instrument and multiengine flight instructor certificates, aerobatic training, and a commercial seaplane certificate.
While private pilots may share certain costs with passengers under certain circumstances, they cross the line when spreading the word.
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