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Article as appears in FLYING Magazine, June 2002, by J. Mac McClellan
Unraveling Life Insurance For Pilots
Buying life insurance is usually a confusing and unnecessarily expensive prospect for pilots. But the two pilots who founded and own the Pilot Insurance Center have made great strides in convincing major companies that pilots are, in fact, a good risk.
Randy Williams, who founded the insurance agency with Bill Fanning, said they made their first breakthrough with a division of Allstate. Williams became aware of the acute problem many pilots have in obtaining life insurance at competitive rates when he was just finishing a homebuilt airplane. Insurance companies wouldn't even talk to him, much less offer a reasonable policy. But by showing Allstate how relatively small the risk of flying is compared to the better-than-average health and other demographics of pilots, Williams and Fanning convinced the company to offer insurance at rates equal to, or sometimes better than, those for non-pilots. Other insurance companies are beginning to see the light and the Pilot Insurance Center can usually obtain several competitive quotes.
We asked the Center to create a typical composite pilot and then obtain actual quotes for a 20-year term life insurance policy with $1 million face value. Our composite pilot is 47 years old, a non-tobacco user in excellent health without family history of cancer or cardiovascular disease. He is an instrument- rated private pilot with about 325 hours of experience who flies a high-performance single. We picked the age because it is about the average for all pilots, and about half of all pilots have an instrument rating.
The quotes from three major insurers who do not work with the Pilot Center ranged from $3,195 to $3,755 annual premium for the same coverage. The Pilot Insurance Center was ale to get a $2,025 quote from an American General Life company, and a $1,830 quote from an Allstate Life Company, both A+ rated. The huge range in the quotes for the same coverage demonstrates the usefulness of having someone who understands aviation on your side.
The life insurance companies are so far out of touch with reality that they quote higher premiums for student pilots or CFIs when the accident record clearly shows that flight training is the safest segment of personal flying. Crop duster pilots, medevac pilots, those who fly experimental aircraft, and others who fly unusual missions often find it almost impossible to buy life insurance at any premium. And with the active pilot populations aging, we will all have more difficulty finding insurance. The Pilot Center has had success in every area because it understands flying and insurance.
The most convenient way to contact the Pilot Center for a quote is to log onto the website at www.piclife.com. Or you can call 800/380-8376.
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