Life Insurance at the Airport

Discussion in 'Aviation Mishaps' started by woxof, Jan 17, 2021.

  1. woxof

    woxof Pre-Flight

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    Was just reading an article about a crash in the '60's. It said....

    "“This was a period when there were five (Northeast Airlines) crashes in recent years, and it was not uncommon to see life insurance kiosks at airports,” said Rapsis, who is the executive director for the Aviation Museum of New Hampshire in Londonderry. “It was an inadequate navigation system for the conditions and the terrain. Airlines were still learning how to fly well in adverse conditions and weather.”"

    Is this really true about life insurance being sold at the airport due to the risks of the day?
     
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  2. Van Johnston

    Van Johnston Cleared for Takeoff

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    Sure. I remember that.
     
  3. X3 Skier

    X3 Skier En-Route

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    I remember the insurance kiosks but assume it was just marketing. Flying commercially was relatively just starting to grow in the 50’s and 60’s and I guess the insurance companies could sell these greatly overpriced policies to those who thought it was risky business.

    Cheers.
     
  4. 455 Bravo Uniform

    455 Bravo Uniform En-Route

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    I want to say I’d seen a “kiosk” sometime in the last 20 years. It was a hip-high stand with application materials and a drop slot. Maybe I dreamt it. Cleveland, Houston, and Indy were my usual haunts.
     
  5. Larry in TN

    Larry in TN Pattern Altitude

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    Insurance companies don't sell insurance because something is a high risk. They sell insurance because people think the risk is higher than it actually is.

    I remember the insurance kiosks but it was a long time ago.
     
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  6. rk911

    rk911 Line Up and Wait PoA Supporter

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    yup, tis true.
     
  7. Cluemeister

    Cluemeister Line Up and Wait

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  8. Rgbeard

    Rgbeard Pattern Altitude

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    I also remember the Kiosks.

    Very real.
     
  9. AggieMike88

    AggieMike88 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    The original "I don't know it all" of aviation.
    I remember them back in the day.

    They were also a minor plot point in the 1970 “Airport” movie
     
  10. PiperW

    PiperW Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Bought a policy back in ‘83 domestic, remember it well.
     
  11. Daleandee

    Daleandee Cleared for Takeoff

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    Yes. That was back when radios & TVs used a weird thing called vacuum tubes. You could test and replace them at the local 7-11 store.

    [​IMG]
     
  12. frfly172

    frfly172 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Not only remember it but used them on occasion. Talk about old.
     
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  13. AeroLudite

    AeroLudite Pre-Flight

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    I remember both!!!

    My dad flew quarterly to Arlington, Va for budget meetings at the Pentagon through the early to mid ‘60’s. Before each flight, He would feed several quarters into one. He would hand the stubs to my mother before boarding the Southern Airways DC3 Out of Anniston, Al or Birmingham for the shuttle to Atlanta, followed by a Delta flight to LaGuardia.

    most life insurance policies excluded loss on scheduled airline flights, or any other aircraft for that matter. Hence the special aviation policies.

    Both a local hobby electronics shop, and an early RadioShack had the tube testers stands. My first shortwave radio was a HeathKit given to me. I repaired it by replacing several burned out bulbs.
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2021
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  14. Oldmanb777

    Oldmanb777 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I remember them. Wasn't until mid 50's that airline pilots could afford life insurance. I think Harvey Watt was teh first to be able to broker life insurance. I was denied life insurance by a company in the 70's based on being an A&P. I think there was a clause that the policy was void if I was killed in a plane. I can't remember the exact part. But suffice it to say, the insurance industry didn't like the risk of aviation. I think the kiosks were probably a cash cow for insurance companies that never paid anyway.
     
  15. cowtowner

    cowtowner Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Still have them all over China.
     
  16. Arrow76R

    Arrow76R Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I have built many Heathkit ham radio radios that use vacuum tubes and they are still used almost daily. I also have my own tube tester albeit a bit smaller than the Radio Shack version!! Vacuum tubes are still available today BUT they are only (I think) manufactured overseas. Audio purists prefer vacuum tube amplifiers to transistors units because of their very low noise and linear response.
     
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  17. wsuffa

    wsuffa Touchdown! Greaser!

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    True. Haven't seen one in a long time.
     
  18. X3 Skier

    X3 Skier En-Route

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    If he flew Southern Airways, aka Kamikaze Airlines, he needed the insurance:eek:. Flew them some to Valdosta GA to visit Moody AFB.

    Cheers
     
  19. Daleandee

    Daleandee Cleared for Takeoff

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    Very true when we are talking guitar amps ...
     
  20. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    I owned a tube tester. My grandfather gifted it to me (he was a TV repairman). I haven't seen it in a long time. I still have the ancient RCA Senior VoltOhmist he gave me though.
     
  21. Let'sgoflying!

    Let'sgoflying! Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Is this one of those questions 'innocently' designed to out our elders?! lol
     
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  22. Let'sgoflying!

    Let'sgoflying! Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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  23. Clip4

    Clip4 Final Approach

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    Flying commercially back then wasn't that dangerous, but there were still a lot of passengers that were new to commercial aviation and the insurance marketers took advantage of unrealistic fear.
     
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  24. 3393RP

    3393RP En-Route

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    My great grandmother was an early adopter of airline travel. She lived in Las Vegas, and because of my mom's poor health during her twenties, Grandma Johnson flew to Albuquerque regularly. She arrived in stately TWA Constellations, occasionally a Continental Vickers Viscount, and later sleek TWA Boeing 727s. I remember meeting her at the bottom of the airstairs at the old Sunport between my seventh and eighth birthdays.

    She also kept a diary for seventy years, which one of her grandsons published. As a result, I can look up entries which regularly recorded something like "Flew from Las Vegas to Albuquerque to help Annette with the children. Fare $26, insurance $3.58. It was a jet."

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2021
  25. dtuuri

    dtuuri En-Route

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    Ah yes, I'll see your tube tester and raise you one retail shoe store x-ray machine in addition to the insurance kiosks I remember well: Vintage Shoe-Fitting X-Ray Machines Will Zap Your Feet | WIRED
     
  26. Daleandee

    Daleandee Cleared for Takeoff

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  27. X3 Skier

    X3 Skier En-Route

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  28. Kenny Phillips

    Kenny Phillips En-Route

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    I know that they still existed in the mid-1990s, I lived in the midwest but worked in LA, so I got a lot of air miles.
     
  29. geezer

    geezer Pre-takeoff checklist

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    My uncle serviced those machines, and died of leukemia at 43. Today, his wife would be in line for a massive settlement. Then, she received a months pay, gratis.
    She was a single mom, with three children, and returned to secretarial work.
    It was not long after he died, 1947, that those things disappeared from shoe stores.

    Airplane connected, I flew from Augusta to Atlanta on a scheduled airline DC 3, changed there to a Super Connie, to Washington DC. I passed on the insurance, I believed airplanes were safe.

    Returning to Augusta, one stop at RDU in a Connie, and we made 3 approaches with ceilings below minimums, landed the third time. The Captain said he knew the terrain in line with the runway, considered it to be an extension of the runway.
     
  30. weilke

    weilke Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Got to wonder whether any of these policies ever had to pay out.
     
  31. geezer

    geezer Pre-takeoff checklist

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    One guy bought a maximum policy on his Mom, put her on a plane, with a bomb in her luggage.

    He looked rich, for a while. He was the only policy that did not pay off, they tracked the luggage with the bomb to him.
     
  32. 3393RP

    3393RP En-Route

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    I would characterize airline travel in the late 50s, 60s, and early 70s as a risky proposition. Between its debut in early 1963 and the end of the 1980s, the Boeing 727 crashed with an alarming regularity, as in every eight to ten months. Look it up on Wikipedia.
     
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  33. PeterNSteinmetz

    PeterNSteinmetz Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

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    I also bought a policy in 1985. Was just married and my wife was worried about crashes.
     
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  34. Kenny Phillips

    Kenny Phillips En-Route

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    How many flights were made? It wasn't like the space shuttle, with minimal flights and two catastrophes; there were more flights of the 727 on a given day than in the life of the shuttle, and probably not too many fewer than Concorde flights.
     
  35. ColoPilot

    ColoPilot Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I never realized how many 727 crashes there were. I pulled the list from Wikipedia as you suggested and plotted them from 1965 to 1990 (I like a visual representation). Each blue dot is an accident (and I removed hijackings, bombings, and being shot down by a military):
    upload_2021-1-19_15-47-31.png
     
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  36. 3393RP

    3393RP En-Route

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    What does this matter?

    From your viewpoint in the 21st century and considering the number and rate of fatal airliner crashes during the period mentioned, characterizing flying as a passenger on scheduled airlines as not involving an inordinate risk is curious. Within the confines of the United States, there were 57 fatal crashes between 1960 and 1969, and 38 between 1970 and 1979, and over 2,000 passengers died.

    The fact stands that commercial air travel during the period I mentioned was littered with the remains of broken up airliners. Insurance is a tool to ameliorate risk, in this case loss of income or companionship.

    Given the number of aircraft losses during the time these insurance policies were sold on airport concourses, the purchase of a policy for the price of a restaurant dinner was seen by many as a rational decision. It had no bearing on statistical analysis, merely public perception. Another factor driving these purchases could have been the exclusion of coverage for death in an air crash in standard life insurance policies of the era. I didn't find clear evidence of this, but it cannot be dismissed as a factor.
     
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  37. JOhnH

    JOhnH Touchdown! Greaser!

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    You are just trying to make some of us feel old aren't you? Yes, I remember those Kiosks. I think I wasted my money on one once.
     
  38. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    The 727 was perhaps the most sold and flown aircraft of the 1970's. Boeing was delivering 1500 of them a year. This is more than the comparable 737 ever got. If you normalize the numbers based on the seat-passenger-miles flown, the Concorde has the highest fatal crash rate followed by the 737 MAX 8. (Due to relatively low usage and one or two complete loss events).

    Several Airbus models (including the 310), the 737-100/200, the 747's with the exception of the -400, F28, DC-9, and DC-10 all have higher rates than the 727.
     
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  39. Larry in TN

    Larry in TN Pattern Altitude

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    The early jet transports suffered from an incomplete, and often ignored, understanding of the importance of stabilized approach criteria in jets with relatively long spool-up times.
     
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  40. Let'sgoflying!

    Let'sgoflying! Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    checkout post 22 if'n you want to read the Wiki on him :)