September 28, 2012

Dozens of informative education sessions will be offered at the upcoming NBAA 65th Annual Meeting & Convention (NBAA2012), set for Oct. 30 to Nov. 1 in Orlando, FL, and for aircraft owners and operators, “Aviation Insurance Claims: Case Review” is one not to miss.

This interactive session, which takes place Oct. 30, will feature a panel discussion by experts, who will review recent aviation insurance claims from their own perspectives. From risk management and insurance planning (broker) to implementation of coverage (underwriter) and claims adjustment/defense (claims adjuster/attorney), the panel will analyze a series of cases and the lessons learned. Presenters are to include John Averill, Insurance Office of America & Aviation Insurance Claims Adjusters; Tim Bonnell, PIM Aviation Insurance; Tim McSwain, Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty Insurance; Stuart Hope, Hope Aviation Insurance; and Kyle Sparks, Starr Aviation.

The session, part of the Aviation Management & Aircraft Ownership session track, is available to all NBAA2012 registered attendees.

“We‘ll give attendees an idea of what courts are really doing with various insurance policies,” said McSwain, chief claims officer of Aviation/Americas for Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty Insurance and coordinator for the session. “We‘re not talking theory, but actual cases and what really happens when they reach the courthouse and how they‘re dealt with.”

Among the cases that will be discussed are several regarding the requirements for pilot qualifications that typically are included in insurance policies. Of particular interest, McSwain said, is a case involving a policy that required a covered aircraft be flown by two crewmembers who both had attended a manufacturer‘s ground and flight school. In this case, the first officer had not met the insurance qualification.

“There was an accident, and the court held that because the policy had a requirement that had not been fulfilled, there was no coverage for the loss,” McSwain said. “I think that‘s of great significance, because we do find that many times flight departments will have contract pilots and will simply take their word on the qualifications they may have.”

The lesson: Review and abide by the details of insurance policies and ensure that crewmembers meet all policy requirements.

Another case looks at indemnities. “We see a lot of contracts that are signed where an operator agrees to indemnify an airport, for example, for any claims against the airport arising out of the operation of the insured‘s operation of its aircraft on the field,” McSwain said. “Some airports are getting pretty aggressive about trying to create agreements that absolve the airport of virtually any liability, including its own.”

However, courts have struck down these agreements and refused to allow municipalities to escape responsibility for their own negligence when it is unrelated to the actions of the operator. “There are limitations to what courts will allow people to absolve themselves of, and it works both ways,” McSwain said.

Aviation Insurance Claims: Case Review will be held Tuesday, Oct. 30, from 10:30 a.m. until noon, in Room S320C of the Orange County Convention Center.