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And while social distancing, cockpit disinfecting, and safer-at-home orders have been the topic of recent discussions, concerns about insurance have not abated with the coronavirus pandemic. These insurance concerns formed the platform of AOPA President Mark Baker’s virtual address to the Aviation Insurance Association (AIA) on March 20. Baker provided a sharp point of view from AOPA and our members toward aviation insurance and the hardships pilots have endured.
“We are asking that the insurance industry share data with us, so we can help our members understand how decisions are being made about coverage and premiums,” Baker said to the virtual gathering. “We know you need to run businesses and be profitable; we are just asking for more transparency.”
Baker reminded AIA members that the GA accident rate is down more than 50 percent since 1994. That said, he cited specific examples of AOPA members who, despite a commitment to safety and currency, have seen their premiums spike.
“One our members, ‘Joe,’ has flown his PC–12 more than 300 hours in the past year alone and even completed over 100 hours of instruction. He has a spotless record in the air and on the road, but just saw a premium increase of 38 percent—and only if he flies with a safety pilot. He’s simply asking ‘why?’” Baker said.
Noting that “Joe” was 67 years old, Baker went on to cite another major insurance-related issue that many members are bringing to AOPA’s attention: age.
“Our members don’t understand that when they turn 70, they are asked to pay 40 percent more than when they were 69-and-a-half. What’s so different about them than just a few months ago?” Baker asked. “Our members are more than their age, a sheet of paper, and where they happen to live. We just want them to be recognized as such.”
Because Baker sees blue skies ahead for GA, he believes this is the right time for pilots and the insurance industry to come together with a common focus on ensuring good health for aviation.
“I think we’re going to see a boon in general aviation as more Americans embrace the freedom and flexibility of flying,” said Baker. “We want to make sure to create an easy path into aviation for these new and returning pilots. Worries about insurance shouldn’t get in their way and stop them in their tracks. Having more pilots in the air helps
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