Insurer may offer relief for older pilots

“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.

There is some potential good news on the horizon for pilots.

After months of close coordination with AOPA, AssuredPartners Aerospace, AOPA’s strategic insurance partner, is teaming up with an A-rated aviation insurer that has pledged to explore streamlined underwriting guidelines for pilots up to age 79. This coverage 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 pilots potential relief from burdensome insurance-related medical requirements.

This new partner will also offer potential coverage options for younger and newer pilots.

“While general aviation has continued to thrive in an otherwise challenging year, alleviating 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 many pilots. This is an example of how we listen closely to our members and advocate on their behalf.”

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.

“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.”

While pilots may be getting some insurance relief, it’s important to note that annual flight training may be required depending upon the complexity of the insured aircraft, and hull deductibles also will increase with aircraft value.

“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.”

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