Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, the flying community was voicing its frustration with another impediment to the skies: insurance.
“Not a day goes by that I don’t get a call about insurance rates,” AOPA President Mark Baker said earlier this year in an industry forum. Many AOPA members, especially the more seasoned ones, were complaining that their premiums were spiking, coverages were being limited, and restrictions to just get covered were sometimes harsh—often with little to no explanation.
After months of close coordination with AOPA, AssuredPartners Aerospace, AOPA’s strategic insurance partner, has teamed with an A-rated aviation insurer that has pledged to explore options for pilots up to age 79. This development could provide more options to those who fly single-engine, piston-powered aircraft with fixed, retractable, or tailwheel gear configurations, and having six seats or fewer and with hull values as high as $500,000. BasicMed is also scheduled to be an approved underwriting element, giving some pilots potential relief from burdensome insurance-related medical requirements.
This insurer will also offer potential coverage options for younger and newer pilots.
“While general aviation has experienced a boon in this challenging year, reducing insurance pressures has always been on the front burner for AOPA,” said Baker. “We are excited about an opportunity to provide much-needed insurance relief to some pilots. This is an example of how we listen closely to our members and advocate on their behalf. We will continue to explore more options.”
The present aviation insurance market has been hard on many in the industry. Aging GA pilots have been faced with fewer options, as insurers have been scrutinizing their underwriting criteria for pilots over the age of 65.
While some pilots may be getting partial insurance relief, it’s important to note that this will not apply to all aviators. In addition, annual flight training or safety pilots may be required, depending upon the complexity of the insured aircraft. Hull deductibles also will increase with aircraft value. “This is a welcome change in the tight insurance market,” Baker said. “But there is more to be done. We continue to work with other underwriters to bring relief to more pilots.”
“We’ve been working hard with AOPA to develop options for those pilots that are experiencing difficulty in finding necessary coverage and reasonable premiums,” said Bill Behan, AssuredPartners Aerospace CEO. “By bringing another choice to the table, we are aiming to allow more capable pilots to stay in the skies.”
“They say age is just a number, and nowhere is that more applicable than in general aviation,” added Baker. “This is one step forward in having pilots judged by their abilities and experience, and not just their age.”