Shopping For Aviation Insurance – The Broker System

There is a persistent misconception that all aviation insurance agents work for the insurance companies. First, there are two kinds of agents: captive agents and independent agents or brokers. In the auto insurance industry companies like State Farm or Allstate, have a large network of captive agents who sell insurance policies exclusively for that insurance company and no one else. Sometimes they are employees of that company. Often times they are independent contractors with an exclusive agreement to sell only that company’s products. The term “direct write” is often used to describe this system. Either way, when a buyer talks Full Article

The Importance of Keeping Records

Consider the following adaptation of an actual incident several years ago. The pilot of a turbine helicopter wasn’t paying close enough attention to his fuel… It is a long established fact that a reader will be distracted by the readable content of a page when looking at its layout. The point of using Lorem Ipsum is that it has a more-or-less normal distribution of letters, as opposed to using ‘Content here, content here’, making it look like readable English. Many desktop publishing packages and web page editors now use Lorem Ipsum as their default model text, and a search for Full Article

The Dreaded Broker of Record Letter

The broker of record letter is a simple document that establishes the written intent of an aircraft owner or commercial operator for the insurance underwriters to deal with a specific broker. Unfortunately this simple document is misunderstood by many clients and misused by some brokers. Because the aviation insurance industry is so small, all aviation insurance companies and underwriters except one use the broker system rather than captive agents. In the auto insurance industry it is common for an agent to represent only one company, like State Farm or Allstate. Other companies like Geico market directly to the consumer. When Full Article

Uninsured Independent Contractors and Service Providers

Many corporate operators have a single Director of Maintenance (DOM), Crew Chief, or mechanic that oversees the maintenance of their aircraft.  They perform most of the day to day maintenance requirements.  When they have a large inspection or alteration, they typically have that work performed by a repair station or other Major Repair Organization (MRO). However, many times the small to medium sized jobs like troubleshooting and minor maintenance up to small inspections that are well within their scope of capabilities and facilities require more than one mechanic to get the job done efficiently.   It is common practice to hire Full Article

Workers Comp Independent Contractor or Employee

A past article in a National Business Aviation Association quarterly publication addressed whether flight departments should use independent contractors.  While the article’s focus was on IRS tax issues, it raised some very relevant issues that apply to workers compensation.  Namely, when is an independent contractor considered an employee, and how should a company treat that contract employee from a workers compensation standpoint? Every state has its own litmus test, however a good start in understanding how to classify a worker can be found on the IRS website ( under Tax Topics.  Topic 762 entitled “Independent Contractor vs. Employee” gives a Full Article

Why We Train

  As a professional pilot for over 30 years and retired US Airways pilot I have a great deal of admiration for the professionalism demonstrated by the entire crew of US Airways Flight 1549. The three-minute flight following the bird strikes, subsequent wet ditching, and rescue, the crew performed the duties for which they were trained but hoped they would never have to use. They were both lucky and unlucky. They were unlucky in that it happened to them instead of any other flight that departed La Guardia that day. They were lucky in that they were departing a familiar Full Article