Insurance

Discussion in 'CineStar FAQ - Tips and Tricks' started by Jon Fredericks, Oct 29, 2012.

  1. Steve Maller

    Steve Maller UAV Grief Counselor

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    It can't be overstated how much has changed since that document was written (April 2007). The FAA must be s###ing bricks trying to keep up with all this stuff. At this rate, the polar icecaps will have melted and we'll all be underwater by the time they get their collective act together.
     
  2. Howard Dapp

    Howard Dapp Active Member

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    I agree Steve.

    AerialPak still stands behind this document...one does not have to dig to find it, it's front and center on their homepage (well front and upper right corner)
     
  3. Andy Johnson-Laird

    Andy Johnson-Laird Administrator
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    It's also perhaps relevant that they're endorsed by RCAPA (www.rcapa.net), who, as far as I can tell, loops you back to Aerial Pak for insurance. However, the RCAPA web site has the feel of one that was created and not updated since 2008 or so -- does anyone know differently?

    The message I'm getting is that RCAPA and Aerial Pak are not quite what they seem to be based on their web presence.

    Certainly I don't know of insurance companies who would provide coverage for claims made for illegal operations (be they copters or anything else).

    Howard also said: "f you operate illegally (commercially) and have an incident you will not be covered. [...] If you injure a bystander with your RC craft while working don't count on aerialpak to cover the injured."
    While lack of personal coverage is of concern, there is also the concern (at least in the litigious U.S.A.), that the injured or their estate(s) would sue your company and you personally out of existence -- and without general liability coverage.....well, not a pretty picture.

    I could well be wrong. I often am....but I'm rarely uncertain. ;)
    Andy
     
  4. Howard Dapp

    Howard Dapp Active Member

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    I'd just like for anyone who has AerialPak coverage confirm that they in fact honor claims made while operating commercially. There seems to be conflicting information. I personally think their coverage is strictly for hobby purposes.
     
  5. Andy Johnson-Laird

    Andy Johnson-Laird Administrator
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    What's interesting to me is that the document at http://aerialpak.com/BinaryData/Artifacts/PDFs/FAA_Letter.pdf cites to the FAA policy document FAA-2006-25714.

    This document is described as a Significant Guidance Document.
    The document itself is here.

    Note that it is a policy document, not a statement of Federal Aviation Regulations (FAR).
    Under the Action heading, it states: Notice of policy; opportunity for feedback.
    No mention of regulations or rules.

    Also in this document the FAA says, "Regulatory standards need to be developed to enable current technology for
    unmanned aircraft to comply with Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR)."

    I take that to mean, "We don't have regulations, but we need to have regulations."

    It also states: In this document, the FAA set out guidance for public use of unmanned
    aircraft by defining a process for evaluating applications for Certificate(s) of Waiver or
    Authorization (COA’s) for unmanned aircraft to operate in the National Airspace System."

    Note the "guidance" word again.

    Under the heading of Policy Statement it says: "The current FAA policy for UAS operations is that no person may operate a UAS in
    the National Airspace System without specific authority. For UAS operating as public aircraft the authority is the COA, for UAS operating as civil aircraft the authority is special airworthiness certificates, and for model aircraft the authority is AC 91-57."

    So it is FAA policy, but not a Federal Aviation Regulation.

    An FAA policy is defined as "A policy statement gives guidance or acceptable practices on how to find compliance with a specific CFR (Code of Federal Regulations) section or paragraph. These documents are explanatory and not mandated." See http://rgl.faa.gov/Regulatory_and_Guidance_Library/rgPolicy.nsf/MainFrame?OpenFrameSet (emphasis added).

    The FAA's procedure for rule-making is stated here. No mention is made of policy documents, only Notices of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM).

    Specifically the previous link has this:
    § 11.25 How does FAA issue rules?

    (a) The FAA uses APA rulemaking procedures to adopt, amend, or repeal regulations. To propose or adopt a new regulation, or to change a current regulation, FAA will issue one or more of the following documents. We publish these rulemaking documents in the Federal Register unless we name and personally serve a copy of a rule on every person subject to it. We also make all documents available to the public by posting them in the Federal Docket Management System at http://www.regulations.gov.
    (1) An advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM).
    (2) A notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).
    (3) A supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking (SNPRM).
    (4) A final rule.
    (5) A final rule with request for comments.
    (6) A direct final rule.


    So, I'm curious.
    Here's the syllogism:

    1. There are no regulations governing commercial civil UAS operations, only policy.
    2. Policy is explanatory and not mandated (by the FAA's own definition).
    3. So if one flies civil UAS commercially, it means one goes against FAA policy but not against any rules or regulations. In fairness, the FAA policy does say, as I mentioned above that "The current FAA policy for UAS operations is that no person may operate a UAS in the National Airspace System without specific authority." But that statement is only policy (explanatory not mandatory).
    4. So what regulations or rules ban commercial UAS activity? There has been no NPRM. There has been no public comment. There have been no regulations issued. Therefore is it possible to have the rules and regulations using the FAA's procedures?
    And no, I'm not proposing a torchlight march with pitchforks on the FAA -- I'm just a citizen trying to understand what my government agency is telling me.

    Andy.
     
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  6. Gary Haynes

    Gary Haynes Administrator
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    Andy

    This is a win the battle lose the war situation. Scenario, FAA inspector see you flying, determines that it was for commercial purposes since he looked at your website and saw a clip and you advertising your skills for filming the beer commercial, you in turn get a nasty letter but choose to ignore it because it is 'Policy'. Next letter 'threatens' legal action. Now you are worried so you contact a lawyer and start paying by the hour. In turn the gov't turns up the heat and claims you interfered with the aviation system and some jet had to deviate around your endeavor and now there are criminal charges because it is a federal crime to interfere with aircraft. (Note: breaking into a parked aircraft at the local airport is an example of a federal offense). Believe me, the federal criminal code is 10's of thousands of pages. So there is something in there to charge you with if they really want to.

    Soooo what do you do? This whole thing is a mess. Other countries have already managed through it. Clear concise rules, easy to follow and none of the nonsense we are seeing. Not even sure that the setup of the test areas has even been completed and that was mandated by law to be completed by August 12. " The Federal Aviation Administration’s 12 Aug. deadline for establishing six nationwide UAS test sites came and went with no announcement. "

    Finally I don't know of any insurance policy that would cover you for an act that was illegal. So God forbid you had an incident, someone was hurt, you file an insurance claim and the FAA gets involved. I just don't see that the insurance company is going to pay any claim until any civil/criminal matters are cleared up with the FAA and US Gov't.

    What a mess....
     
  7. Andy Johnson-Laird

    Andy Johnson-Laird Administrator
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    I hear you Gary. You're absolutely right. The FAA's position is at odds with its own procedures, but as they saying goes: "How do you dance with an 800 lb gorilla." Answer: "Any way it wants to." :)

    Andy.
     
  8. Gary Haynes

    Gary Haynes Administrator
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    Just saw this over on MultiRotorForums

    Per phone call last night with Hill & Usher they are no longer issuing policies for any Aerial related AP/AV coverage. Flat didn't want any part of it, "too many claims"....
     
  9. Andy Johnson-Laird

    Andy Johnson-Laird Administrator
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    That's close to what I got when I called Andre Monette some weeks back. As you say, Gary, too many claims.
    Guess we'll just have to band together to form an insurance company?
    "I'm sorry, we cannot insure your Cinestar 8 -- it has a pre-existing condition....."

    Andy.
     
  10. Howard Dapp

    Howard Dapp Active Member

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    I wonder how they are handling their current policy holder claims that happened during commercial activities.
     
  11. Jon Fredericks

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    Howard, you had a question a while back about the Aerial Pak policy; I'll try to find the answer to that at the office tomorrow.

    Andy and Gary, I agree with you guys on the current issue of FAA policy/guidance vs. law. It's been my personal contention that policies and guidance do not = FAR's. The issue is do you want to go to battle to prove such, as Gary suggests....a daunting affair. I assume many folks have likely already been contacted by FAA and would be interesting to hear their take.
     
  12. Jon Fredericks

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    There is a bunch of outdated info on their webpage. They used to provide hull/equipment coverage a few years ago, but the claims were outrageous so now they just do liability.
     
  13. Andy Johnson-Laird

    Andy Johnson-Laird Administrator
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    Thanks, Jon.
    One is ill-advised to mess with the Eagle. :)
    Look what happened when someone tried to mess with Big Bird, eh?

    Andy.
     
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  14. Jon Fredericks

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    Indeed, Big Bird don't take no flak!
     
  15. Steve Maller

    Steve Maller UAV Grief Counselor

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    I can confirm that AerialPak are still writing liability insurance, but not equipment coverage. I know. I just got it.
     
  16. Howard Dapp

    Howard Dapp Active Member

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    Steve, can you ask them if they cover liability claims that happen "on the job" (operating commercially)

    Thanks
     
  17. Steve Maller

    Steve Maller UAV Grief Counselor

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    Howard, this is very specifically business liability insurance. I had to create a new, distinct LLC (separate from my primary photo and video business) in order to qualify for this insurance. And as such, I need to maintain a "chinese wall" between the businesses. According to the powers that be, nothing short of that is acceptable for commercial coverage. And I consider this to be a competitive advantage in the marketplace, because I can tell my clients that they should make my competitors produce a certificate of insurance, or they should not do business with them. ;)
     
  18. Andy Johnson-Laird

    Andy Johnson-Laird Administrator
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    I think Howard was asking a question I also wanted to ask: If you are flying the copter commercially, will your insurance still provide liability coverage for your LLC as you are operating the copter in violation of FAA policy?

    Is there an exclusion in the policy for this circumstance?

    Thanks
    Andy.
     
  19. Howard Dapp

    Howard Dapp Active Member

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    Thanks Andy. Yes, that's exactly what I'm asking.
     
  20. Steve Maller

    Steve Maller UAV Grief Counselor

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    I shall have the fine print in front of me tomorrow. The agent insisted that until there is a specific local, state or federal law prohibiting such activities, the insurance company will cover losses encountered whilst flying for hire. I was very clear about that.
     

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