Insurance asking CFI for "supervised solo" form after a crash

Discussion in 'Pilot Training' started by schmookeeg, Jul 15, 2020.

  1. schmookeeg

    schmookeeg Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    Hello,

    A CFI buddy of mine relayed a story to me and it has me scratching my head a bit.

    He did an insurance checkout for a student in a retract ~2 months ago.

    That student had a gear-up mishap recently.

    AOPA is the insurer.

    AOPA called my buddy, the CFI, asking about the checkout and to verify that he met the Open Pilot warranty during the checkout (he did -- the owner apparently didn't get around to naming the CFI as requested). Here's the weird part -- they then requested that my buddy sign a document stating that he was supervising the solo of that student. He was not. He was not in the aircraft. He doesn't even live in the same state as the insured.

    Anyone ever heard of this? What possible purpose could it serve, since my buddy was not in the aircraft at the time of the gear-up? Other than to hang the CFI out in some weird way that I don't understand.

    My buddy has CFI insurance but since he wasn't in the plane, I don't see how there is any liability here (or coverage), other than civil (if they choose to go down that road with some "flimsy instruction" theory, I've never heard of it), or causing a snit with the FAA and a posssssssible 709 ride? (never heard of that for a CFI either, just an interview-and-thanks approach)

    Curious if others have experienced this. My eyebrow is at peak arch over the situation and I have no advice for him.

    Cheers,

    - Mike
     
  2. Bellanca_Pilot

    Bellanca_Pilot Pre-Flight

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    I wouldn’t sign it!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
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  3. Salty

    Salty Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    AOPA isn’t an insurer.
     
  4. schmookeeg

    schmookeeg Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    I'll assume "AOPA Insurance Guy" is the broker, then, and this is a broker shenanigan? That's even stranger to me.
     
  5. brcase

    brcase Pattern Altitude

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    I am sure the devil will be in the details.

    Was it really a student pilot he checked out in a retract. If so then a CFI (your Buddy?) would have had to endorse his logbook for that airplane and should have done a presolo knowledge test per far 61.87.

    If it was not a student pilot, then it depends on what exactly your buddy was checking him out for and that the insurance was requiring.

    Brian
    CFIIG/ASEL
     
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  6. Vance Breese

    Vance Breese Line Up and Wait

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    I have found it best not to sign something that is not true.
     
  7. Tarheelpilot

    Tarheelpilot En-Route

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    Regardless of their intentions he wasn’t supervising the flight and should not sign the form.

    as to intent my guess would be the insurance company is trying to get another liable party involved to share the repair costs.
     
  8. Chip Sylverne

    Chip Sylverne Final Approach

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    Fear is the poison of our lives.
    Brokers/salesman very rarely (like never!) get involved in claims. The insurance company hires a claims manager, and that ain't AOPA. Something doesn't pass the smell test here.
     
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  9. MauleSkinner

    MauleSkinner Final Approach

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    I’d bet the owner was supposed to have a certain amount of “supervised solo” prior to carrying passengers, but chose not to be supervised for whatever reason.
     
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  10. smv

    smv Pattern Altitude

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    Yah... This sounds more like a call the owner's lawyer would make than the insurer (or underwriter).
     
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  11. MauleSkinner

    MauleSkinner Final Approach

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    Probably just identified himself as “Bob, needing a little more information for Mr. Smith’s insurance policy”, or some equally vague introduction.
     
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2020
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  12. Geosync

    Geosync Pre-takeoff checklist

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    AOPA is a broker, not the insurer. Sounds like there are some details your are leaving out, maybe you don’t have them. But, if the student had a gear up incident already, the insurance company is likely out $50k + For the engine/prop/belly repairs on this account and will never make it back, so, now they want to move the risk to the CFI, if he were to gear up again under his instruction. Now, it is unclear if AOPA knew that there was no solo when they asked him to sign the document. It sounds like they did not. Did they force the issue after he explained the training situation? Sounds like there are some missing facts here. Likely the student is a low time pilot or old, flying a retract, had one incident and the insurer is worried he’ll do it again. Student begs for coverage, so insurer says ok, but with stipulations.

    Liability wise, it doesn’t sound like your buddy is in any real danger.
     
  13. Chip Sylverne

    Chip Sylverne Final Approach

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    Fear is the poison of our lives.
    There's no legitimate reason for the underwriter, via the broker, to ask the CFI to attest to supervising the incident flight if he in fact did not do so. At first blush, it looks like somebody is trying to misrepresent the facts of the claim.
     
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  14. schmookeeg

    schmookeeg Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    Interesting. I can see this scenario. If it's true... yikes for the plane owner if hull coverage is in question! :eek:
     
  15. Bacho

    Bacho Pre-takeoff checklist

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    As a student pilot all of my solo time was supervised according to the insurance company. Between the broker and my CFI, it was decided this meant nothing more than checking in with him and getting a go from him for each flight. It wasn't a big deal and my CFI was not at the airport most of the time.
     
  16. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I can't really comment reliability without a lot more information, but treating what you write as 100% accurate, I don't see the problem for the CFI. If the CFI wasn't supervising the student's solo, he doesn't sign a statement saying he was. Instead he replies, "I cannot sign that statement. I did not supervise any student solo flights by that pilot."
     
  17. RussR

    RussR Pattern Altitude

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    Like others, I am also a bit confused by your wording. You mention the CFI, the student and the owner. Is this student the owner? Or do we have a third party involved here? Also, do you mean actual "student pilot", or just "trainee" (excuse me, "learner" now I guess).

    I've done tons of insurance checkouts for already-rated pilots in new airplanes. It's much different, documentation and subject-matter-wise than doing the same for an actual student pilot. I've never done one of those without being actively involved with the rest of the student's training.

    And, of course, I'm not signing anything I didn't actually do.
     
  18. Salty

    Salty Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    I’m not a CFI, but if it were me, I wouldn’t sign anything even if I did provide instruction/supervision - other than the logbook when the instruction/supervision occurred.
     
  19. bflynn

    bflynn Final Approach

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    Probably the only CFI they have a record of. Someone may be validating the student was not a scofflaw, in which case the insurance company would be off the hook. Seems weird, but insurance companies do sometimes care for the insured too. They are checking the boxes.
     
  20. Chip Sylverne

    Chip Sylverne Final Approach

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    Fear is the poison of our lives.
    Then the claims manager should note the file and pay the claim. I agree that a lot of companies look for ways to pay claims rather than deny. But IMHO, there is no way anyone should do business with an insurance company that makes a practice of misrepresentation in any way, shape or form, even if it does benefit the claimant.

    I hope we're missing a piece of the story, I'd hate to think otherwise.
     
  21. DFH65

    DFH65 Pattern Altitude

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    Don't sign anything.
     
  22. bflynn

    bflynn Final Approach

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    Confused - are you saying that if the student learner was illegally flying their airplane without an instructor endorsement, their damage should be covered by insurance anyway? I'm pretty sure almost every insurance policy that is sold contains an "illegal activity" exclusion.
     
  23. schmookeeg

    schmookeeg Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    Trainee owned the plane. CFI was just hired gun to meet insurance requirements as-imposed.

    CFI provided a complex signoff, owner/trainee/student already had hipo.

    Apparently insurance reached out and mentioned that the supervised solo request was done in error. Maybe it's a trainee broker or something?

    As far as my buddy is concerned, it's case closed. Claim is getting paid too, since all the boxes were checked. And yeah, he didn't sign the form, I probably should've mentioned that early. :D I thought the request itself was strange, I had never heard of such a thing.

    We had 7 or 8 claims like this at the flight school and never have I had the insurance company request forms from our CFIs -- but maybe this carrier or this broker have some new thing. Dunno.

    Appreciate all the inputs. :D
     
  24. IK04

    IK04 Pattern Altitude

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    Just claim he is a "learner," not a Student Pilot.

    That'll fix everything.

    :cool:
     
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  25. Chip Sylverne

    Chip Sylverne Final Approach

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    Fear is the poison of our lives.
    I didn't say that. I don't know the facts, the policy language or any of the particulars of this claim. What I'm saying is that often if the claim is close to the edge, but not an out-and-out violation of the contract, many companies will try and find a way to make an accommodation for the claimant but they don't do it via misrepresentation of the facts. Underwriters that have been around a while realize the universe of customers is small, and word of poor treatment travels fast. But it's all got to be on the up and up. Usually the conversations goes something like "We can't do that, but here's what we CAN do..." and so starts a negotiation.
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2020
  26. bflynn

    bflynn Final Approach

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    Ok...that’s why it was a question.
     
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  27. RyanB

    RyanB Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    Supervised solo to me, means one thing - the CFI was present on the ground and at the airport at the time of student solo. For others, it may mean something different and that’s okay as long as you and the insurance company are in agreement with their definition, otherwise, it’s fraud.
     
  28. Vance Breese

    Vance Breese Line Up and Wait

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    I have not been able to find any reference to “supervised solo” in the FARs.

    The closest I have been able to come is FAR 61.129 that requires ten hours of solo for commercial as part of the required aeronautical experience.

    That requirement may be met either solo or while performing the duties of a pilot in command with an authorized instructor on board.

    I don’t know how I would supervise someone if I was not in the aircraft.

    "Supervised Solo" sounds made up to me.
     
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  29. Let'sgoflying!

    Let'sgoflying! Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    The recipient of this call should say, "hey I'm a bit short of time - email is best for me, ok?
    Can you write me with exactly what you want and why?
    Oh, and so I can get back to you, please include your full contact info in the email? I'll need your name, company name, address, phone & extension number?"

    This way you make them commit to telling their story in writing.
    If they what they are asking is illegal, you won't hear from them again.
    If they send it and just sounds like a silly request, discard it.
    If it is not on the up and up (ie asking someone to falsify an insurance document), off to the state insurance board it goes.
     
  30. brcase

    brcase Pattern Altitude

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    IIRC correctly the FAA did use the term Supervised Solo in the FAR's for a short period of time. Like you I looked and could not find it in the current FAR's. I think what they meant was a student flying under a 90 day endorsement from an instructor.
    However, how it was read and interpreted by instructors, pilots and flight schools was that the instructor had to be present at a minimum for the departure of the flight. I believe the FAA revised this wording before the lawyers got involved.

    Brian
     
  31. WDD

    WDD Cleared for Takeoff

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    He is being scammed by a lawyer. The person probably isn't even with the insurance company. Or he is with the insurance company and is a weasel. Do not assume the guy on the phone is legitimate. Does it pass the smell test? No. What insurance person would ask someone to fraudulently sign a statement like that?

    This is not a "lets sort out the details, we're all on the same side". Just in case, have your friend reach out to his insurance person and let them know what is going on. As the last thing they would want is to be liable, they will be on his side.
     
  32. MauleSkinner

    MauleSkinner Final Approach

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    Certified letter is best for me.
     
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  33. NordicDave

    NordicDave Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

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    Reminds my of a situation 5 years ago, when a pilot asked a CFI buddy of mine to retroactively sign his BFR by couple of months having just busted a presidential TFR. The pilot wanted his paperwork square for the investigation. Of course my buddy said no.