In the wake of recent airliner losses, carriers are bracing for substantial increases in insurance premiums when the main renewals season starts on November 1. Insurers have already made massive payouts for hull losses following the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 en route to Beijing and the apparent shooting down of MH17 over eastern Ukraine. Other recent losses have included the crash of Air Algerie’s flight AH5017 in southern Mali and TransAsia Airways flight GE222 in Taiwan. Further unsettling the risk environment for air transport have been recent attacks on airports in Pakistan, Israel, Afghanistan and Libya.
As the softness of the aviation insurance market continues to drive premiums down, aviation insurance underwriters, brokers and agents are struggling to make money. In fact, when asked how much lower premiums could fall before they hit bottom, Aviation Insurance Association (AIA) president Franklin Bass told AIN, “I thought we were there last year.”
Last year marked another year of relatively soft rates in the general aviation insurance market, according to aviation insurance broker NationAir’s annual market analysis, released yesterday. “While the market conditions have remained the same for several years, the reasons for that soft market are changing,” noted company president Jeff Bauer.
Initially, increased market competition pushed rates down, he said. “Now, however, rates are being held down by the more long-term forces of structural overcapacity and, thankfully, favorable loss history.”
Bill Snead, president of Wichita-based AOPA Insurance (Booth No. C10424)–a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association–put it most succinctly when he presented the company’s new options to members at NBAA 2013. “FBOs are our primary targets with our new commercial insurance offering. Beyond that, we are ready to insure corporate flight departments to a very high limit of liability,” he told AIN. “We know we can offer competitive rates, and that’s exciting.”
NationAir (Booth No. N5311) announced at NBAA 13 that it has created an aviation product liability division, to be lead by 15-year insurance veteran Jamie Benthusen. The company, founded in 1978, has pioneered specialized insurance programs, with clients in 30 countries worldwide.
“Our products liability division is part of our commitment to provide the full spectrum of risk management for our aftermarket aviation suppliers. It is a natural progression to extend our services through the supply chain,” said Jeffrey Bauer, president of NationAir.
AOPA Insurance–a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association–is expanding its offerings to cover business aviation. “FBOs are our primary targets with our new commercial insurance offering. Beyond that, we are ready to insure corporate flight departments to a very high limit of liability,” company president Bill Snead told AIN.
Unlike real estate lenders, most aircraft lenders don’t require title insurance, so airplane buyers rarely even know about it, let alone purchase it. That can be a big mistake.
Insurance is a necessity that operators hope never to put to use, but with operating costs, especially for fuel, running so high, any opportunity to save money is always welcome. Insurance underwriter USAIG is helping lower costs with its new Performance Vector Plus program, which can save flight departments as much as 15 percent on insurance premiums.
Zenith Aviation, a distributor of Dornier 328 parts and spares, is seeking multiple aircraft parts and spares consignment opportunities. The company recently invested more than $3 million in additional climate-controlled warehouse space and an automated inventory storage and retrieval system. The 44,000-sq-ft warehouse can hold up to 500,000 individual line items. According to the company, the consignor retains title to the parts until they leave the Zenith warehouse.
The Independent Fixed Base Operators Association (Ifboa) announced last month that it has now surpassed the 500-member-company mark. Founded in 2006, the group includes FBO operators, flight schools, repair stations and aircraft management and sales firms among its ranks.
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