Insurance underwriters are lending their support to AOPA's ongoing efforts to ensure that pilots can continue to get insurance as they age. The AOPA Insurance Agency announced this week that insurance carrier AIG Aviation is now making it easier for older pilots to get new insurance or renew an existing policy. AIG's announcement marks the second time in two weeks that older pilots have gotten good news about their insurance options. One week earlier carrier Global Aerospace also announced significant improvements in its terms for older pilots.
Pilots of any age can now get coverage from AIG if they fly a single-engine fixed-gear aircraft, maintain a current flight review and medical, and have maintained currency in the same make and model of aircraft for at least the past 12 months. Pilots also must not have had any losses or violations in the past three years. Policy limits are set at $1 million total and $100,000 per passenger for aircraft with a maximum hull value of $300,000. AIG also allows pilots under age 80 to avoid many of the expensive age-related surcharges that are common with many aviation insurance companies. Best of all, AIG continues to offer a 5-percent discount for AOPA members, regardless of age.
AIG Aviation currently insures more than 7,000 pilots over the age of 70 who own aircraft and is also the carrier for the AOPA Non-Owned Aircraft Liability Program, which has no upper age limit or surcharges for coverage.
And AOPA continues to fight to make insurance available and affordable for older pilots. AOPA also is undertaking a major study to investigate how aging affects pilots and determine whether the safety records of older pilots justify the difficulty they often have in getting insurance.
"This study is extraordinarily important to pilots, because the answers could very well affect general aviation safety and the cost of flying for everyone - something that members constantly tell us is a primary concern," said AOPA President Phil Boyer.
AOPA will begin by looking at all the existing information on flying and older pilots: What kind of research on this subject already exists, whether for flying or other relevant aging factors?
Next, the study will probe the AOPA Air Safety Foundation's extensive accident database, looking for the causes of accidents involving older pilots. What kinds of incidents or accidents are they experiencing? What's the ratio of "fender benders" to more serious situations?
Finally, AOPA will engage an independent research organization to evaluate what happens to the cognitive and neuro-muscular skills of pilots as they age.
"We're going to find the truth about how aging affects pilot safety," said Boyer.
"And when we do, we'll report it - regardless of the outcome. This affects all of us. And we're all getting older."
The AOPA Insurance Agency is the nation's largest general aviation insurance agency and is the only aircraft insurance agency backed by the 60-plus-year expertise of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association. AOPA represents more than 400,000 pilots, some two thirds of all pilots in the United States.
April 15, 2005