Jim Pinegar, Vice President & Director of Operations of AOPA Insurance Services, has been addressing your aviation insurance questions for one year this month. We hope you have found the information a helpful valuable resource. In honor of the one-year anniversary, we have compiled the top questions Jim has received this year:
DONALD: Does getting a quote from AOPA in any way affect the ability to get a quote from my present insurance broker?
JIM: Donald – great question – and we hear this question daily, in one form or another; but does getting a quote from AOPA limit your ability to get quotes from other agencies? Many years ago, a practice, known as “blocking” was common in that the first broker to quote would end up being the only broker able to acquire quote from various insurance companies. However with technology playing an increasing role with aviation insurance, the practice is becoming less common.
There are really two main scenarios that come into play. But in general, for most aircraft, getting a quote from one broker does not preclude you from getting the quote from another. Most aircraft (Cessna, Piper, Mooney, etc.) now “auto-rate” through complex computer programs and underwriters are not even aware of which aircraft or N-number was quoted, until we call with questions.
Now there are two exceptions to the rule – your aircraft with your current carrier, and aircraft that require significant, manual underwriter involvement. Understandably, your current carrier will only quote the incumbent broker and will only want to manually underwrite a risk once - which could lead to brokers being “blocked” from certain markets. Subsequent brokers are only told that the risk is “involved.” Now there is a fairly easy process for obtaining a previously “involved quote,” which only takes a quick signature from the client. Some examples of manually underwritten risks include helicopters, seaplanes, turbine aircraft, & commercial risks (instruction and rental, flying clubs, airport liability, manufactured products liability, workers compensation).
Quotes are generally the same amongst all brokers, so it’s important to choose a broker that you identify with and one that places customer service and satisfaction as top priorities. Going from broker A to broker B, may make broker B’s quotes seem high - because they were limited to only carriers not previously “blocked”. On the other hand, we’ve been able to find markets on “blocked” quotes because we pride ourselves on shopping the market, when the previous broker did not adequately shop.