I'm Your Insurance Agent
By Bob Mackey, representative for the EAA Aircraft Insurance Plan, Administered by Falcon Insurance Agency
September 17, 2009 — I always enjoy talking with EAA members about their airplane insurance when they call in for a quote, or when I’m at EAA AirVenture. People love to talk about their airplanes…and sometimes even their airplane insurance.
When I worked at EAA I was often asked to make a short presentation to the kids attending the EAA Air Academy. When I talked with young aviation enthusiasts I’d usually start by asking how many hoped to be airline pilots. Typically about half would raise their hands. I’d then ask how many wanted to be military pilots and again about half the hands in the room would go up.
Finally, I asked how many planned to be an insurance agent. All you could hear were crickets, with the exception of a few muted “snickers.”
Even though I don’t fly for a living I feel pretty lucky because I get to talk to people every day about their airplanes. I really enjoy airplanes and airplane people, so being an insurance agent that specializes in airplane insurance is a great job. I enjoy helping airplane owners find he right airplane insurance at the best price.
One can be an independent insurance agent or a direct insurance agent. An independent agent (I am an independent insurance agent that specializes in airplane insurance) represents the client and works with all of the insurance companies (other than direct insurance companies) to obtain quotes. Conversely, a direct insurance agent works for one specific insurance company and is trying to sell you that company’s insurance.
In the airplane insurance business, if the direct company has a particular airplane they like to insure they will offer that coverage at a low price. However if it’s an airplane that the company isn’t too keen about then the price will be much higher, or coverage may not be offered at all.
Independent insurance agents like me work for you. Our job is to find you the best possible insurance at the best price. We have many insurance companies to write policies for. Further the independent agent knows which companies seek certain types of risks, (i.e. transition pilot, student pilots, tailwheel airplanes, vintage airplanes, warbirds, aerobatic airplanes, homebuilts, gyrocopter or helicopter, seaplanes, flight schools, flying clubs, etc.) Both direct and independent insurance agents are required to be licensed by the states in which they do business.
I believe there are several key ingredients that go into being a good insurance agent, especially when it comes to airplane insurance.
- Knowledge - You need to know and understand what the airplane owner is doing, the type of flying they do, where they typically fly, and other factors.
- Reputation - You need to have a good reputation with the airplane insurance companies. (You need to be ethical!)
- Involvement - You need to be an advocate for the airplane owners you arrange insurance for, which means you need to be involved in the aviation community through flying or staying involved in other ways like a local EAA Chapter or pilot club.
- Innovation - You need to be able to think outside the box. By this I mean you need to be able to think of ways to show the airplane insurance company why it is a good idea for them to insure the people you represent. For example, when someone comes to you with an unusual situation you need to think of ways to make insurance possible, which may mean the airplane owner making some changes in their expectations and/or the insurance company figuring out who they can become comfortable with the risk exposures.
When you go looking for an airplane insurance agent, remember the difference between a direct insurance agent and an independent insurance agent. Talk to other airplane owners. Make a call to an insurance agent and ask a few questions about the insurance you need and look for the key ingredients. Go online and read some of the articles that are out there. Whatever you do…don’t just assume the insurance agent is working for you…unless you know they are!
The EAA Aircraft Insurance Plan provides aviation insurance coverages for a wide range of aviation activities and is administrated by Falcon Insurance Agency, Inc. Bob Mackey is senior vice president of Falcon Insurance Agency, Inc. and you are welcome to send your suggestions for insurance-related topics that you would like to see addressed to Bob at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for supporting EAA by participating in the EAA Aircraft Insurance Plan.