What Relief Are Pilots Seeing From Insurers?

In times when many aircraft sit idle, assistance comes in several forms.

airplanes on tarmac
With aircraft sitting on the ramp across the US, you may wonder what you need to do to address your aircraft’s insurance policy.Julie Boatman

Aviation insurers are adjusting to the current COVID-19 outbreak by offering personalized answers for the aircraft owners that they have relationships with, as aircraft across the country sit idle. We checked in with a couple providers to give their advice.

"As a direct writer we have the ability to be flexible in amending coverages," said Marci Veronie, senior vice president of sales and marketing for Avemco. "If a policyholder wants to go from flying status to non-flying status, they can do so with just a phone call to us--assuming they do not have a lien with a lending institution; those lien contracts require an owner to carry full ground and in-flight coverage at all times.

“With respect to the medical issue, we police for medicals, flight reviews and the airplane’s currency at the time of application--not necessarily at the time of an accident and/or incident. If the FAA is going to grant an exemption on a pilot’s medical certificate because of the virus situation, then we would consider it a valid medical too. There isn’t anything in our owners policy that says that a pilot’s medical, flight review, or annual have to be current to receive coverage.” However, Avemco’s non-owner policy does require a current medical and flight review.

Starr Insurance’s aviation division announced on April 7 that it would make “accommodations under its general aviation policies to extend certain training and medical certification deadlines for insured pilots until pandemic social-distancing mandates are lifted,” said the company. “We quickly saw that COVID-19 mitigation efforts could affect pilots whose policies require an annual training event and pilots subject to regulatory aviation requirements,” said Steve Blakey, president of Starr Insurance. “We responded by building in time so our policyholders don’t risk losing their coverage.”

Starr Aviation plans the extensions through June 30, 2020, and it outlines those parameters in a document on its website. For any specific guidance, pilots and owners are asked to contact their individual brokers.