Anatomy of an Aircraft Claim detail

Anatomy of an Aircraft Claim – Part 1

12/14/2021 Written by: Stuart Hope

You’ve paid premiums all these years hoping to never need the product you have been purchasing. Unfortunately, you find Mr. Murphy has inserted himself into your life and you have received a call your aircraft has been involved in an accident. Here’s some insight into the right moves to make and what to expect from an insurance perspective.

No one ever thinks it will be their flight department that has an accident, but the fact is even the most seasoned pilots make mistakes and the best maintained aircraft sometimes fail. When the stars align against us, the result can be as simple as a call from the pilot informing us of an inadvertent gear collapse/runway excursion on landing, to a call to our receptionist from a news reporter asking if we knew our aircraft was involved in a catastrophic accident with multiple fatalities. The handling of these two events from an insurance perspective will vary greatly, and here the one discussed is the gear collapse scenario.

Your company aircraft is returning from a long day of business travel with two executives, two prospective investors, and its crew of two pilots. On rollout, the right main gear collapses; the aircraft veers hard right and off the runway, careens into a drainage ditch and comes to a stop. Everyone immediately exits the aircraft. Two passengers received non-critical injuries. The aircraft is damaged extensively, and the runway subsequently closed until debris could be removed.

Rules to Follow: 

  • Rule number one after any accident is always the same: Take care of the people involved!  Worry about the airplane once you have attended to anyone injured or affected by the accident. Once all injuries are under control, one of your first calls should be to your company’s insurance broker to report the claim. The broker, in turn, will contact the insurance underwriter, who will assign an adjuster to handle your claim. They can provide valuable guidance; use those resources. Also, your broker, or their internal claims department, will act as your claim advocate throughout the process, to monitor and make sure the underwriter is meeting its coverage obligations.
  • Next up: The damaged aircraft. A seasoned adjuster will have handled hundreds of similar claims and can quickly advise you regarding the proper sequence of aircraft removal, such as who to hire to accomplish that task and where to take the aircraft to begin appraisal for repair. Pressure will mount to move the aircraft as quickly as possible but hiring a local tow-truck operator to throw some straps around the aircraft and pull it out of the runway area is not a good idea. In the rush to move it off the runway, many aircraft that were not badly damaged wind up with major structural issues due to someone attempting something for which they were unqualified. 

Coverages: In addition to repair of the aircraft, other coverages may be available to your company. Trip Interruption, Extra Expense for Temporary Use of Substitute Aircraft, Guest Voluntary Settlement, Medical Expense, and other ancillary coverage may also be triggered in the event of an accident. 

Often the difference between a good and bad claims experience boils down to one word—communication. At AssuredPartners Aerospace, we employ a dedicated claims team that monitors your claim and acts as your proponent throughout the process. Contact us today to see how we can put our extensive aircraft experience to work for you.  

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