When is The Insurance Company a Higher Authority Than The FAA?

by Mike Adams, Senior Vice President, Avemco Insurance Company

January 2020

“The FAA says I’m fully qualified to fly my airplane. Why does Avemco® require that I receive dual flight instruction in that make and model before you’ll insure me to fly solo pilot in command?” This is a common question our underwriters hear from current and prospective policyholders, especially when they have just purchased an airplane. So why is it that there are times when we require greater qualifications than FAA minimums?

Quite simply, our requirements for additional training are based on the correlation of pilot training or experience to Avemco claims statistics.  Ultimately, that’s a good thing for you and us.

Requiring additional pilot training or experience protects you. The FAA specifies minimum requirements for flying various configurations (fixed tricycle gear, tailwheel, retractable gear, etc.) and classes (single-engine, multiengine, etc.)1. But unless you’re flying a turbojet or something over 12,500 pounds, there’s no requirement for type-specific training.

Our request for dual instruction amounts to just a little bit of type-specific training. And that makes accidents less likely.

Please be aware that we do cover you while you train, if coverage is contingent on you receiving a specified amount of dual before you can act as pilot-in-command. Assuming all other provisions of your policy are met, your coverage is in effect when you fly with a qualified instructor to meet our training requirement(s).   If you have a named pilot on your policy and there are no checkout or training provisions attached to that pilot, they are already approved to fly the aircraft solo. The only time the “flight instruction required” provision will jeopardize your coverage is if you (or another pilot on your policy required to log instruction) act as solo pilot-in-command, before logging all the required training. Or if your instructor does not meet the qualifications specified in your policy.

Keep in mind the FAA sets the minimums, and they are responsible for regulating civil aviation to promote safety.  The FAA is not providing your legal defense. Nor have they agreed to pay up to the policy liability limit to the plaintiff(s) if you have an accident.  When we issue you an insurance policy, we have a contract with you that in the event of a claim (assuming all conditions of the policy are met for coverage), we are going to protect you and your assets with the goal to settle all claims within the policy limits.  We have developed our requirements for pilot checkouts and training based on our experience and history in settling claims.

Pilot training requirements are an important part of protecting you, even more important, they play a key role in reducing the possibility of having an accident.  As always, if you have any questions, feel free to contact any of our Aviation Insurance Specialists at (800) 638 8440.

1https://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?SID=160da63b84f9d845b209c246b78076cb&mc=true&node=se14.2.61_13&rgn=div8 

 

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Mike Adams, Senior Vice President of Underwriting, is an instrument-rated pilot, and a former President of the Oregon Pilots Association. Mike holds a property/casualty insurance license in all 50 states. His more than 36 years of combined experience with general aviation and the aviation insurance industry helps pilots to understand why many of Avemco’s coverages and underwriting decisions are designed to help keep them safe.

Avemco® does not provide technical or legal advice, and is not affiliated with companies whose products and services are highlighted, advertised, or discussed in content contained herein. Content is for general information and discussion only, and is not a full analysis of the matters presented. The information provided may not be applicable in all situations, and readers should always seek specific advice from the FAA and/or appropriate technical and legal experts (including the most current applicable guidelines) before taking any action with respect to any matters discussed herein. In addition, columns and articles solely reflect the views of their respective authors, and should also not be regarded as technical or legal advice.