Imagine you are sitting in your doctor’s office, you’ve just been told you have slightly elevated blood pressure. No big deal, right? If you take some medication, it will all be under control. Life will carry on. If you are a pilot without loss of pilot license insurance, however, you may have just lost your livelihood over a relatively common medical issue.
Most professionals have a safety net if they experience an ailment that prevents them from working on either a short-term or permanent basis, either through social security disability insurance (SSDI) or their state’s disability program, supplemental disability insurance obtained personally or through their employer, or both. These programs and policies ensure that they can maintain their income during their recovery or on an ongoing basis, as needed, although SSDI and state-provided disability insurance only pay out a percentage of the employee’s regular income and are capped at a specific dollar amount.
Pilots are eligible for these same disability programs and benefits, but due to FAA medical standards, may find themselves with a diagnosis that prevents them from obtaining a medical certificate to fly, but which is not covered by standard disability insurance. This is a really important point. Most professionals who cannot work are covered by disability insurance. Pilots often are not.
Blood pressure medications, hypertension, diabetes, recurring kidney stones, sleep apnea, and poor vision are just some of the conditions that keep a pilot grounded but don’t qualify for standard disability insurance. With the time and monetary investment involved in obtaining and maintaining a pilot license, it would be quite a blow to face a loss of income over a relatively benign illness. Even worse, there are few fixes other than waiting out a recovery period or finding other means of employment.
A Loss of Pilot License policy fills this gap, protecting pilots from a Loss of Medical situation, whether permanently revoked or temporarily suspended. These policies also cover all forms of compensation, with benefits that are commensurate to your income (not just a capped percentage, like SSDI or state disability programs).
By now you know why pilots need this coverage. You may be asking yourself, why should employers pay for it?
Under the current industry shortage, attracting experienced pilots has never been more important. Salaries are skyrocketing, and comprehensive employee benefit packages can help operators keep their edge in a competitive, and sometimes adversarial market. Loss of Pilot License policies are flexible and can be administered on Group or Individual policies, with options for employers to split premium costs or direct bill each participating pilot. Retaining top talent is essential. Benefits packages tend to work better for retention than even healthy raises.
Aviation is not without its share of volatility. Loss of Pilot License insurance brings a sense of stability, ensuring pilot income and economic security, no matter the diagnosis.