Session Descriptions

Sunday, April 29

8–9 a.m.

The Pilot Shortage: If it’s real what can we do about it?

  • Mitchell Young, USAIG
  • Katie Pribyl, AOPA

The aviation industry requires highly trained and skilled people to fly, maintain and service aircraft. The numbers of licensed pilots and mechanics has shown a steady decline for some time. There have been predictions that the shortage will cripple our industry. The combination Baby Boomer retirements and a limited supply of new entrants onto aviation will create significant challenges for operators, brokers and underwriters to overcome.

This presentation will provide background on the demographics behind the predictions, where we stand today and what is and can be done to attract qualified personnel. We will provide insight on the effects a shortage and potentially abbreviated training cycle will have on the industry. The presentation will conclude with a discussion of what is being done now and how the insurance industry can advise and assist clients as they prepare to face the issue and plan for their future.

9–10 a.m.

Claims Gone Bad

  • Paul Leonard, Charles Taylor Adjusting (Aviation)

Veteran aviation insurance claims professionals recount the circumstances, issues, and results of some of the more unusual, strange, humorous, and/or wild accidents and claims they have investigated over the years. The presentation will discuss any coverage issues created by the circumstances, arguments for and against coverage, and how the case(s) were ultimately resolved.

10–11 a.m.

Space Insurance

  • Scott Ross, Global Aerospace

Space Insurance remains a dynamic business with unique risks. The space market in a pure sense is insurance for the satellite asset from launch to the end of its useful life. However, the discussion can’t be complete without addressing the liability side of this ultra-hazardous activity. The regulations will require updates as new launch vehicles are being developed and as low earth orbit becomes more crowded with the advent of nano-satellites.

The presentation includes a review of international and domestic regulations affecting space and their relevance in today’s environment and the applicability for the future. Space Insurance fundamentals will also be discussed and how the insurance market itself is evolving to meet the needs of new manned and un-manned launch vehicles and habitats.

11 a.m.–Noon

E&O Claims from Begining to End

  • John Scott Hoff, Cremer Spina

This presentation will be a review of the basic elements of what can constitute the negligent act of a professional “Error and/or Omission” (E&O). It will begin with a review of the basic definitions and use of the terms, especially as it applies in an aviation insurance context - principally to agents and brokers who claim professional expertise in the placement of aviation risks and the procurement of a potential indemnity in the event of a loss to an insured. We will review the similarities and differences from E&O deficiencies or professional problems of architects, accountants, doctors, lawyers or other “professionals”. Examples will be provided regarding how an E&O can potentially arise in the placement & underwriting of a typical aviation insurance risk. We will review common areas where coverage “gaps” can result, as well as where the desires of the insured to provide needed “coverage” exposures are not provided for - that can result in no defense and/or indemnity. There will be a review of recent relevant case law where courts have litigated and evaluated the actions of agents or brokers and have found areas where liability may (or may not) exist. We will review a list of things to do (or don’t do) to potentially prevent such an occurrence, as well as a list of “lessons learned” as a result of the painful (and potentially expensive) process of “testing” coverage for agents and brokers, who themselves need protective defense and a potential indemnity for negligent short-comings in the business of risk placement. Time permitting, there will be a brief Q&A following the presentation.

1–2 p.m.

Insurance and the Rise of the Drones

  • • Anthony Mormino & Gerry Deneen, Swiss Re Management

The presentation opens with a survey of US law and regulations regulating drones and their use. The presentation then reviews the most common legal risks that drone operation entails, and which could result in liability and claims under applicable insurance policies. It also evaluates briefly the emerging legal issue of property rights and vertical/horizontal trespass. Finally, the presentation looks at insurance coverage under standard general liability policies, and the kind of questions that insurers may ask on their insurance applications about drone use that could affect coverage. The presentation ends with a review of the drone insurance marketplace.

This presentation will examine the many things that operators, brokers and underwriters must consider when arranging and/or providing for international aviation insurance coverage in today’s rapidly evolving regulatory environment. This includes but is not limited to country specific insurance and documentation requirements for foreign aircraft; OFAC requirements and restrictions as they relate to aviation insurance, and the quickly developing regulatory framework relative to aviation operations into and out of Cuba and related insurance issues.

2–3 p.m.

Power Down or Fire Up: Lithium Battery Risk at Altitude

  • Ted Dunlap, RTI Forensics
  • Dana Schulze, NTSB
  • John Deleeuw, American Airlines
  • Robert Corcoran, Global Aerospace

We live in a technical age. Our personal electronic devices continue to shrink, though their power requirements do not. Similarly, the aviation industry, like its automotive counterpart, continues to electrify more and more systems in the constant quest for added efficiency and decreased weight. The current panacea to quench our thirst for electrons comes from lithium battery technology. Compared to traditional batteries, lithium-ion batteries charge faster, last longer and have a higher power density, making the battery lighter and powerful. The trade-off is that when failures occur, they likewise pack a powerful punch.

This presentation, through a lively panel discussion, will guide the audience through current risks that lithium battery technology presents in aviation today. The panel, drawn from government, the airline industry, failure analysis engineering and insurance, will discuss the known and foreseeable risk, the types of products and devices that drive the concern, and how the insurance industry should address those risks. In addition, the panel will review insurance claims to provide a guide to future underwriting and risk management principles which should be applied to existing and future insureds.

3–4 p.m.

Current Uses of Safety Management Systems and the Effects on Risk and Insurance

  • Raymond L. Mariani, Murray, Morin & Herman
  • Mark Pestana, NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center
  • Priscilla Kehoe, Director of Research at UCLA

The process of assessing risks, avoiding accidents and minimizing paid losses for injury, death and property loss receives significant attention at safety conscious aviation organizations. Past experience with divergent safety-related programs has led many organizations to adopt Safety Management Systems (SMS) as the means to achieve these goals.

SMS combines a proactive approach with a top-down, organization-wide participation in the implementation of a comprehensive safety program. Insurance programs for aviation organizations, the assessment of risks by underwriters and the establishment of premium rates are all driven in part by the relative success of SMS and accident avoidance. Increased use of SMS has been a proven means to achieve a safer organization, reduce risks, and avoid accidents.

This panel presentation will provide an overview of SMS principles; discuss SMS in the context of various aspects of aviation, including manned and unmanned flight, maintenance functions and airport operations; and address how effective implementation of SMS can result in an enhanced insurance program.

4–5 p.m.

Bad Faith Decision

  • Deborah Elsasser, Clyde & Co

Bad faith claims are not new to the insurance industry, but the rules governing good faith claims handling and insurers' coverage obligations often differ by jurisdiction, and are subject to evolving theories and standards of liability. To add to an already complex claims handling landscape, Plaintiff's attorneys and policyholder counsel have found creative ways to turn claims of questionable coverage or liability into multi-million dollar bad faith settlements. This presentation will provide an overview of the rules governing good faith claims handling, insurers' duties to defend and settle claims, statutory and common law bad faith claims, bad faith set-ups and case law trends. We will also discuss preventive strategies and defenses to bad faith claims in the context of both first-party and third-party claims.

Monday, April 30

9:15–9:55 a.m.

Dr. Doris Höpke, Member of the Board of Management, Munich RE
Höpke will give an update on the current state of the industry.

10:30–11:10 a.m.

Ed Bolen, President and CEO, NBAA
Bolen will share the NBAA’s vision as we move into the future.

11:10 a.m.–12 p.m.

Guy Buesnel, CPhys, FRIN, PNT Security Technologist, Spirent

Insights Into the assessment of GNSS risks for insurers

This presentation will review the vulnerabilities of GNSS and assess the risks and impacts of current threats through a selection of real-world incidents and experiences.

The authors will show that it is important to obtain quantitative data through obtaining an understanding of the user’s operating requirements and environments. This could involve detecting GNSS RF interferences and building a database of captured events. This data can then be used as a basis for developing informed and cost-effective mitigation solutions.

Finally a framework will be proposed that can be used to assess risk and provide the necessary test data to provide significant improvements in a landscape of evolving threats.


12:30–1:30 p.m.

Captain Mark Kelly
“Endeavour to Succeed”

Mark captivates audiences with lessons learned from his extensive travels and experiences in the Navy, outer space and on the ground. From leading teams in some of the most dynamic environments imaginable, to the thrill of spaceflight, and the recovery and resilience of his wife Gabrielle Giffords, he reveals the foundations for success so you can accomplish your mission in life and work.

(Attorney/Claims Division)

2–3:00 p.m.

To Be or Not to Be: The Aviation Additional Insured Question

  • Glen Vallich, USAIG

For many aviation entities, it is a fundamental tenet of risk management to, when negotiating contracts with business partners, try to secure additional insured status on their contractor's insurance policy in connection with the contract. And, of course, this is often an effective and crucial risk transfer tool. However, there are certain circumstances in aviation in which having one contracting party being added as an additional insured onto the other's policy may have the inadvertent result of harmfully restricting coverage for both parties in a way that neither intends. This issue can arise in relation to the operation of the traditional "Aircraft, Auto or Watercraft" exclusion on CGL policies for certain hangaring and other aircraft servicing contracts. This presentation will examine the nuances of this often over-looked potential pitfall, with references to case law, standard policy language and practical examples, in a way that can help aviation entities, as well as their attorneys and insurance professionals, be more informed in this area going forward.

SESSION IS APPROVED FOR CLE CREDIT *The Attorney Division will hold the election for the director-elect after the session.

Agent/Broker/Underwriter Division

2–2:30 p.m.

Agent/Brokers’ Meeting

  • Luke Uithoven, AIA Director of Agents/Brokers

This pre-combined division meeting will give agent/brokers an opportunity to talk about their division issues as well as hold the election for the director-elect of the agent/brokers’ division.

2–2:30 p.m.

Underwriters’ Meeting

  • Greg Sterling, AIA Director of Underwriters

This pre-combined division meeting will give underwriters an opportunity to talk about their division issues as well as hold the election for the director-elect of the underwriters’ division.

2:30–4 p.m.

Queuing Up at AIA

Back by popular demand, each Underwriting Company will be assigned stations with one to three Underwriters per station. There will also be an international desk that will allow International Brokers and Underwriters to participate. Each Broker will be given an underwriting slip to fill. Brokers must go to each Underwriting company until 100 percent of the slip quota is filled. That completed slip must be delivered to the International Reinsurance Desk to be verified, sealed, and deposited for inclusion in the drawings. You will have one hour to complete your slip. Similar to the Brokers at Lloyd’s, participants will have to queue up and efficiently use their time to get the slip filled in the allotted time. Meet, greet, and exchange business cards and emails. For each individual participating, Underwriter will drop one (and only one) business card in the Underwriter Drawing Hopper for inclusion in the Underwriter Drawing.

Tuesday, May 1

Continuing Legal Education Sessions
Again this year, AIA has approved Monday, and Tuesday sessions for up to 6 hours MCLE credits. Attending AIA’s half-day session of CLE sessions is a great way for you to earn up to four hours of legal education credits. All attendees are welcome to attend.

If you need CLE credits to remain in good standing with your state, a $100 fee applies.

8–9 a.m.

Air Show Panel

  • Paul Lange, Law Offices of Paul A. Lange, LLC

Description Coming Soon

9–10 a.m.

FAA: Friend or Foe

  • Jim Strawinski, Strawinski & Stout, P.C.

A discussion of some of the considerations involved in litigation that includes the FAA as a defendant. The discussion includes a refresher on the basics of bringing the FAA into a lawsuit followed by some observations of a more subtle nature gleaned over the years.

10:30–11: 30 a.m.

Experimental Aviation: Industry, Claims, Litigation, and Releases

  • Laura Heft, Butler Weihmuller Katz Craig LLP

For the first time in a long time, there is a segment of general aviation that is getting everyone excited and that is experimental aviation. Not only is it expanding, but its safety record is improving. In short, we should care about experimental aviation because there is a market for it. What makes experimental aviation fun also makes it a challenge. Experimental category planes range from $10,000.00 scratch built to the fastest kit plane, the ViperJet, with a cruise speed of 446 knots and from aerobatics to research and development. Experimental aviation covers a lot of ground… or the sky as the case may be. This presentation provides a primer for experimental aviation, including the industry, its development, and its regulation. Insuring experimental aviation occupies the remainder of the discussion, including common and unique claims, litigation issues, and releases.

11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.

An Approach to Evaluating and Litigating Traumatic Brain Injuries in Aviation

  • Kerry A. Mahedy and Brandon A. Woodard, Montgomery Rennie Jonson

Lawsuits alleging traumatic brain injuries have tripled in the past 20 years. These claims can present challenges for claims professionals because of the elusive nature of brain injury evidence, the rapidly evolving science, and the complex scientific evidence involved. However, the considerable risk and unpredictability associated with mild traumatic brain injury claims (mTBI) can be managed with a proactive approach that focuses on the science. This presentation will provide an overview of the science behind mTBIs, address common myths and misconceptions that create pitfalls for attorneys and claims professionals evaluating these claims, and will discuss approaches for defending against the evidence used by claimants to support mTBI claims, including neuropsychology and neuroimaging.