Picking the perfect partner

July 22, 2013

There's only one reason to buy aircraft insurance: payment of claims. Hence, you have to judge an insurance company's ability to pay them.

Your first task is to compile a list of aviation insurance companies with a good track record. The best place to start is with operators of similar aircraft. Once you get some recommendations, research those companies’ website for information about their underwriters.

Look for companies with higher AM Best and S&P financial ratings. These insurers can, and typically do, charge a higher premium for their policies, but only because they can, and typically do, provide more responsive claims service.

The best insurance brokers deal with underwriting companies every day on multiple aviation risks and have large books of business with each, giving them more buying power. Plus, they’ll know which underwriter at each insurance company is the most reasonable to deal with for a specific type of aircraft, what a competitive rate should be on a particular account, what coverages are available at no charge, and how hard to negotiate.

Here are a few good questions to ask yourself as you consider prospective brokers:

  • Do they have a thorough understanding of aviation insurance, the marketplace, policies, and coverages?
  • Do they have strong relationships within the market?
  • How well do they understand the type of flying you do?
  • Are they willing and able to handle all of your aviation insurance needs?
  • Do they take the time to explain the process and coverages as well as how they relate to you?
  • Do they have sufficient office support to properly service your account?

For more information please visit AOPA Insurance Services online.

Brenda J. Jennings, senior vice president of AOPA Insurance Services, is an aviation insurance professional with more than 35 years of experience.