Association concerned by escalating insurance surcharges after fliers pass age of 60

A study to determine whether older general aviation pilots are a higher risk for insurers is to be carried out by the US Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA). The association says it has found that pilots aged over 60 often have to pay an escalating insurance surcharge that reaches 30% at 70 and increases dramatically after that.

AOPA president Phil Boyer says the organisation will use "its extensive resources", including those of the AOPA Air Safety Foundation (ASF) and a qualified third-party analyst, "to find out what kind of accidents older pilots are having, what causes them, and what actually happens to pilots' skills as they age".

AOPA quotes an example of an insurance company that levies a 30% surcharge for pilots at 70, 95% at age 75 and 160% for octogenarians. Other insurance companies simply will not accept older pilots on their books.

AOPA says its study will begin by probing insurance claims by older pilots, to answer questions such as what is the ratio of "fender benders" to more serious claims? Then the ASF will examine its database for the causes of accidents involving older pilots. Finally, says Boyer, the third-party analyst will evaluate what happens to the cognitive and neuro-muscular skills of pilots as they age – can the changes be predicted, can they be easily measured, and what kind of mitigating measures could be applied if evidence of skill change emerges?

"Currently there is no hard, scientific data to justify the way insurance companies are treating older pilots," says Boyer. "We're going to find the truth, and when we do, we'll report it – regardless of the outcome."


Source: Flight International