First Quarter 2014: RPS IMC Balloon Insurance Review

New coverage options with Allianz

Many of you know our parent company since 2004, RW Scobie, Inc. merged with Risk Placement Services, Inc. (RPS) a division of Arthur J. Gallagher & Co.  Our new owner is a worldwide company with $3.5 billion in sales and 16,000-employees.  This size and experience brings us an entirely new and dynamic range of expertise and available resources.  What does this mean for you?  The same friendly and efficient folks, Sheila and Mendy, will continue to staff our office and be ready to take your calls and handle your needs.

Further, I am pleased to announce that effective with our 2014 business, we have a new business relationship with Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty – Aviation Insurance Company.  Allianz has global experience with all forms of aviation, including balloons.  They have provided insurance and risk management to the European balloon community for a number of years.  Their tremendous experience in the aviation marketplace and flexible coverage options allow us to craft a balloon insurance policy to meet the unique needs of balloonists in the 48 contiguous United States.  In the past, you had few choices and fixed coverage.  Our new policy allows choices.  Change is always stressful, but by reviewing the contents here and additional information that will come, you will quickly see that change is good, good for you and good for the continuation of our sport and businesses.

The table below illustrates some of the new/optional limits Allianz will consider depending on the risk (underwriting standards apply; this is not an offer/guaranty of coverage):

Allianz Chart

The following examples are for illustration purposes only.  Please read the policy to understand the coverages included and the coverages that are optional.  For any questions or clarifications, please call our office.

Combined Single Limit – 3rd Party Liability:  Our standard offering is $1M per occurrence.  Optional choices are $1.5M or $2.0M for additional premium.  This is perfect for those needing higher limits for flying banners, commercial balloons or shapes.

Passenger & Crew Limit Bodily Injury:  Our standard offering is for $100k per pax/crew.  We now offer choices for higher limits for an additional premium.  This also applies to those locales that might require higher limits (Canada, Military Bases, Colorado, to name a few).

Medical Expenses:  The medical expense coverage is the way we get immediate first aid to those injured in an occurrence.  It is for things like first aid squads, emergency room treatment, and X-rays.  Our standard offering is $5,000 per pax/crew up to the limit of passenger carriage.  Now you may choose higher limits, for an additional premium, if you believe more is necessary.

Personal & Advertising Liability:  Previously unavailable, this covers occurrences such as slander, liable, and liability you may incur through advertising.  Most have seen the “threads” on Facebook and the Balloon Reflector.  You know that the things said, claimed, or alluded to are sometimes pushing the limits of acceptability.  If you should become liable for this or advertising claims, this coverage would help cover defense and liability claims.  Read the policy for details.

Voluntary Settlement Coverage:  This coverage was not previously available.  This new coverage pays for accidental death or dismemberment while pursuing ballooning activities and is available from $5,000 to $50,000 at very reasonable rates.  You may select the coverage for yourself or other passengers/crew, up to the limit of the balloon carriage capacity.  It covers death or dismemberment while aviating and covers the pilot, too.

Family Assistance Coverage:  An interesting addition that fits perfectly with the above.  An example; a passenger is fatally injured in an accident.  This optional coverage pays, (up to the limits stated), for the immediate family member(s) to travel to the location and stay locally.  It also includes grief counseling, a blessing when needed.

Balloon Premise Liability:  This liability coverage is designed to protect you should someone sustain an injury resulting from your use of “balloon premises” – your launch and landing sites, for example.  To illustrate, a family member of one of your passengers steps into a chuck hole in the field you just landed in and severely breaks their ankle requiring surgery.  This coverage would protect you if you were found legally responsible.

Airport Operations Area Auto Coverage: More good news for our New Jersey pilots and anyone who uses airports...  As many know, some states require (by state law) use of licensed aviation facilities for launch.  What happens if your crew “tags” an airplane wing leaving the airport while driving the chase vehicle?  This coverage will assume the risks of you or your crew, driving your vehicle on the “Airport” side of the fence (where the airplanes are) if your auto coverage does not cover you.

Balloon Accessory Coverage:  We now offer 4 levels of accessory coverage, uncoupled from a specific balloon with a standard low deductible of $500 for any level.

Worldwide Coverage:  More good news, we can now provide coverage, for an additional premium, for balloon events in most other countries.  We have coverage to include the unique requirements of Canada and Mexico also.

In addition to the above, we now offer coverage to Repair Stations for General Liability, Aircraft Parts manufacturers for completed products liability, Aircraft Hangar and Airport General Coverage, and a host of other aviation related services including single and multi engine aircraft, flight schools, and simulators.

In all cases, please read the policy and understand the coverages included and coverages that are optional.  For any questions or clarifications, please call our offices.

Needless to say, this is an exciting time for IMC, Allianz, and the aviation community.  We here at RPS IMC Balloon are very excited to make you aware of what 2014 brings.  It will open new doors for us and expand our offerings to best meet your needs.