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Why Avemco Insurance Company is Putting Safety First

by Jim Lauerman
President, Avemco Insurance Company

As many pilots already know, accident prevention is a key component of Avemco®’s business plan. But you might not know why an insurance company would spend its time and resources trying to prevent accidents instead of just figuring out a way to profitably pay for them. For that answer, you’ll need a little history.

About 25 years ago I attended my first Friday morning claims meeting, where we review the week’s claims.

That Friday we discussed an accident in which a very experienced pilot and his passengers were killed in a crash that seemed inexplicable. With the aid of hindsight we could see he made some poor decisions in spite of his experience. But we dismissed the accident as just another example of “stupid pilot tricks” and moved on to the next claim.

I remember thinking, “I guess that’s a pretty rare event.” But I was wrong.

The Definition of Insanity
They say insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Well, in the subsequent 25 years I’ve seen the above scenario played out over and over again. Pilots are still wrecking aircraft and injuring themselves and others at much the same rate and for much the same reasons.

To me, this is truly disheartening.  Over the past 40 years I’ve been privileged to participate in this fascinating industry as a Fixed Base Operator, a Chief Pilot and Flight Instructor, an aviation insurance underwriter, and now as the leader of the great team at Avemco. While we’re in the business of insuring at a profit, I also love the people of general aviation and I care about seeing them enjoy what I like to call the “majesty of flight.” So I’m deeply saddened at the friends and customers that I’ve lost over the years to
accidents. That’s why my colleagues at Avemco and I have taken a number of steps to stop this insanity.

Safety Rewards Program
Launched in 2003, the Safety Rewards Program was designed to help reduce the frequency and severity of general aviation accidents by providing incentives to pilots who seek ongoing training. The Program now recognizes more training options than ever before. All FAA Safety Team (FAASTeam) WINGS Knowledge
courses qualify for 5 percent annual premium credit on owned and non-owned aircraft insurance products. This, along with an additional 5 percent annual premium savings when customers participate in Avemco-recognized flight training, can save pilots up to 10 percent on annual premium costs.*

Spreading the Word
One of the most effective and personally satisfying ways that I’ve been able to share Avemco’s safety message is by spreading the word to general aviation pilots. Over the years, this has included countless speeches, forums, magazine articles, webinars, podcasts, Avemco’s On Approach newsletter, and, most
recently, my President’s Blog.

These outlets have allowed me to reach more pilots than I could have in any other way. Plus it helps people understand that we care about more than just profits. We really do want to preserve the “majesty of flight” for all aviators to enjoy — safely.

A Safer Future is On the Horizon
I’m confident that an increase in educational awareness using research on the human factors of loss prevention through the AERI project combined with Avemco’s Safety Rewards Program and our continuing safety education initiatives will help move the accident rate in the right direction.

Let’s all put safety first!


*Premium credits