Should I Participate in the NATA Workers’ Compensation Insurance Program Strictly Based on Price?

March 27, 2014

The National Air Transportation Association is celebrating a highly successful first-year anniversary of the NATA Workers’ Compensation Insurance Program, administered exclusively by Beacon Aviation Insurance Services. As we move forward into our second year, the question has come up: “Should I select the NATA Workers’ Compensation Insurance Program strictly because of the price?” The short answer is no.

To give you an overview of workers’ compensation, you should know that almost every business with employees in the United States faces the need to acquire workers’ compensation insurance. Most states (with a few exceptions) essentially require employers to purchase an insurance policy to handle their statutory obligations for workers who are injured or made ill due to a workplace exposure. Whether your business is small or large, handling the expense and effort of meeting statutory obligations is a challenge.

Workers’ compensation laws provide fairly comprehensive and specific benefits to workers who suffer workplace injury or illness. Benefits include medical expenses, death benefits, lost wages, and vocational rehabilitation. Failure to carry workers’ compensation insurance or, otherwise, meet a state’s regulations in this regard can leave an employer exposed not only to paying these benefits out of pocket, but also to paying penalties levied by the states. So, how do you balance the need of providing this vital coverage while protecting your bottom line?

First, we should examine how the costs of workers’ compensation insurance are created. Your premium includes the estimated annual pay of your employees, multiplied by the rate (cost) for each of your individual class codes (specific job classifications). This rate is then combined with other taxes, fees, and either debit or credits (discounts or additional premium based on factors, such as loss history and optional coverage) that are available to your specific company. Once all of those are added up, we come up with your specific estimated annual premium.

The closest thing there is to a uniform set of rules for premium computation was established by the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI). This organization creates policy forms and writes the rules for premium computation in the majority of states.

Now that you have your premium, you should also look at: what is the carrier’s history and financial strength?; will your claims be handled quickly and efficiently; and, what other services are available to help you operate a safer work environment and ultimately save premium dollars?

Backed by A-Rated Companion P&C (a subsidiary of Blue Cross Blue Shield), the NATA Workers’ Compensation Insurance Program™ includes all applicable credits, access to one of the most comprehensive loss control and safety minded programs in the industry, direct access to the nation’s largest physician and provider networks, no-cost, loss control services, and an industry-leading dividend plan that pays out in full, just 10 months after your policy’s expiration date.

Along with checking out all the facts of your coverage, you may also want to look into recommendations from industry leaders. One recommendation comes from NATA President & CEO Thomas L. Hendricks, “NATA is thrilled with the growth and member acceptance of this program in its inaugural year. Our participating members are finding the EZ Pay option plans, quicker dividend payouts and up-front rewards, for those with the best worker safety experience, to be the most attractive benefits of this program.”

Beacon Aviation Insurance is available to help answer any of your questions or concerns, offer you more information on your specific premium, and work with your agent to obtain a quote from the NATA Workers’ Compensation Insurance Program.

You can reach Beacon Aviation Insurance directly at 941-953-5390 or; and through your current insurance agent.

Submitted by Bob McManus, CPCU
VP, Partner
Beacon Aviation Insurance Services

Article first appeared in NATA’s first quarter Aviation Business Journal. Click here to read more.

Disaster Preparedness – Lessons Learned

November 12, 2013

Is your company prepared for a disaster, unrelated to an aviation accident? Deliberate, thoughtful preparation can save lives and even save your business from being one of the 40% that don’t reopen after a disaster. Take time now to develop a disaster preparedness plan and continue to learn from others’ experiences.

Lessons Learned

With each major disaster our country faces, we as a society get a little smarter and a little more cautious. Here are a number of lessons we can learn from previous disasters:

1. The first information by the news media is ALWAYS wrong. The initial reports from the Boston Marathon indicated there were four bombs. Cell phones were supposedly blocked by the police on purpose. These details ended up not being true.

2. Normal communication methods might not work. Cell phone towers are often overwhelmed during disasters. Text messages often get through and the American Red Cross or other groups often set up various methods to check in with family, friends, and employees.

3. There will be flight restrictions. Whether the flight restrictions are to mitigate the possibility of an aerial terrorist attack, limit the media coverage of the event, or just ensure aircraft involved in recovery efforts have the room to move, expect flight restrictions and be prepared to communicate those to your staff and customers.

4. The proliferation of 24/7 news programs is bad for us – emotionally and even physically. Studies following 9/11 showed repeated exposures to the video and photos of that terrible day might have slowed the recovery of people affected and provoked stress responses in individuals who weren’t immediately affected. Stay informed but don’t be glued to the TV, radio, or Internet news sites.

5. There will always be “helpers.” “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping’” said Fred Rogers of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood fame. Look for the helpers. BE a helper if you’re a position to be one.

6. Know there’s a difference between “vigilance” and “hysteria.” Whether we’re talking about natural disasters, security events, or even a health epidemic, it’s possible to be prepared without your daily life being negatively impacted. Don’t believe a disaster will happen to someone else. Be prepared but don’t be hysterical.

This excerpt was taken from an ABJ Q3 article written by Lindsey C. McFarren called “Disaster Preparedness.” To read the full article, click here.

To visit or return to NATA’s website: Follow NATA at or Like Us at




Walk A Mile In My Shoes – Part 3

September 20, 2013

Best practices are methods or techniques that consistently produce superior results or outcomes.  Best practices evolve over time as better – new and/or improved – methods or techniques are identified through experience which includes “trial and error” and the practical application of “lessons learned”. 

 Without a doubt, it is wise to study the best practices of successful organizations (both public and private).  Certainly, sponsors and businesses can learn by studying the processes, procedures, and systems used by successful organizations and adopting (or adapting – for the situation and/or circumstances) the best practices identified.  By implementing best practices, sponsors and businesses can leverage and build on the success of others.  This is a continuous process – as best practices are fluid and dynamic.

Please click the following link to read the full article in the third quarter Aviation Business Journal (ABJ):

Please click the following link to read the full article in the second quarter Aviation Business Journal (ABJ): The first installment of this 3-part series on doing business with airport sponsors appeared in the first quarter ABJ and the second installment appeared in the second quarter ABJ. To visit the ABJ issue archive, click the following link:

To visit or return to NATA’s website: Follow NATA at or Like Us at

Walk A Mile In My Shoes – Part 2

July 30, 2013

In some respects, doing business with an airport sponsor is like playing a game of chess. Each player analyzes the moves of the other, strategizes future moves, and makes the moves that provide the best chance to win. When it comes to airports, however, sponsors and aviation businesses are working towards the same goal – both parties are trying to achieve a “win-win” by meeting the needs and exceeding the expectations of the public (i.e., airport customers and stakeholders). Generally, sponsors are responsible for providing quality airport infrastructure and improvements and businesses are responsible for delivering quality aviation products, services, and facilities. As with the game of chess, to increase the potential for success it is essential for a business to understand thoroughly the circumstances and conditions (past and present) and the current situation at the airport. The following questions can help achieve this objective…

Please click the following link to read the full article in the second quarter Aviation Business Journal (ABJ): The first installment of this 3-part series on doing business with airport sponsors appeared in the first quarter ABJ and the final installment will appear in the soon to be released third quarter ABJ. To visit the ABJ issue archive, click the following link:

To visit or return to NATA’s website: Follow NATA at or Like Us at  


Navigating The Complexities Of Aircraft Management

May 24, 2013

In March 2012, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued a memorandum that expanded scope of federal excise taxes (FET) on owner-operated use of aircraft being utilized in an aircraft management agreement. This provoked a great deal of concern by the National Air Transportation Association (NATA).

As we have previously reported, we have been working with the Internal Revenue Service for a number of months, and have had multiple meetings with multiple offices within the IRS.  Our efforts have changed the landscape, but we want to recognize the time and effort that the IRS has put into our issue and in listening to our concerns. 

Shortly after the release of the IRS memo, representatives from NATA reached out to the IRS to share concerns over expanding the scope of FETs. The IRS often gets a bad rap — they are the “tax man” after all — but in this particular case they went above-and-beyond to learn about our industry and to help find a solution to this complex issue. We met repeatedly with IRS officials and they listened carefully.  Marian Epps of Epps Aviation and Nel Stubbs of Conklin and de Decker Associates dived into the on-the-ground details of how owner-operation of aircraft in the aircraft management industry works, about the various agreements that are in place, the rights and responsibilities of aircraft owners, and those of the management companies. They listened carefully and agreed with the need for clear and precise guidance with respect to such management services.

In conclusion, those we worked with in the IRS’s Office of the Chief Counsel and in the Small Business/Self-Employed Division have done an outstanding job at navigating the complexities of the aircraft management industry and the complexities of owner-operated use of charter aircraft. This is just a first step in the process of resolving the proper scope of FETs. We look forward to continuing to work with the IRS in exploring the details of this issue and commend these public servants for their thoughtful work in this arena.

Submitted by: James W. Coon, NATA Executive Vice President

To visit or return to NATA website:

The Golden Rules of Effective Advocacy

May 16, 2013

With three decades in Washington, I have learned a few things along the way — you learn more when you listen and your reputation is the one thing that counts the most in this town. Are you honest? Are you respectful of others’ views? Do you represent your industry’s positions well? Are you tuned to political realities; and do you engage in the political process?

To develop an association into a reputable resource for key policymakers, the ongoing process of relationship building must be among the top of its list of priorities. In many ways, it is similar to what you do in running your business every day. Getting to know those decision makers, providing them with accurate and useful information, outlining the consequences both positive and negative, treating someone like you would want to be treated (especially when you disagree), along with political advocacy are all key elements to affecting the legislative and regulatory processes.

The worst part of being an elected official, or being someone who would like to run for elected office, is the constant and never ending need to finance a political campaign. Ask any of them; they don’t like it. But, it is an unwanted necessity as the cost of running campaigns continues to increase. We all likely have strong personal views on this, but it is the world that all trade associations operate in and to ignore this reality is folly.

Our Nation’s capitol, despite its enormous power and amazing monuments and museums, is, in reality, a very small town. Faces change but the titles remain the same. This reinforces the need to be always engaging and respectful of others. In many cases, people become addicted to the political process and are fortunate to obtain key agency or staff positions on Capitol Hill, or influential industry jobs; and then move from one to the other over time. This might be an apt description of my path. I have seen many times in my career where not treating others as you want to be treated can come back to you in many different ways.

Elections have consequences as we all know — sometimes good and sometimes bad — depending upon your political views. When focusing on issues important to the general aviation community, we don’t look at whether someone is a Republican or a Democrat. We look at whether or not they support general aviation, and whether or not they oppose burdensome, redundant, unneeded, and costly regulations or legislation. We look for opportunities to educate, inform, and develop common sense solutions.

With a united general aviation advocacy effort, we can be one of the strongest industry voices in the United States. We will need this unified voice if we are going to be successful in negotiating the challenges upon us and in front of us. Throughout my career, I have been drawn to aviation and specifically general aviation, mainly because its people are passionate, hard working, and honest.

As our Nation’s financial situation continues to provide challenges for everyone, we must be in a position to help policymakers succeed by identifying reasonable solutions that could help contribute to restoring our federal fiscal house to order — and without imposing additional tax burdens on our families and on our industry. In this effort, it is essential that we remain vigilant and thoroughly engaged.

General aviation is in the crosshairs for some, and we are working to educate those on the contributions our industry provides, including job creation and the economic impact that we have on communities in every state in the Union. I believe most would agree that we are all willing to pay our fair share and take our cuts when absolutely necessary. At the same time, we must work within the political, legislative, and regulatory processes to ensure these decisions are advanced on sound policy considerations and not simply for political expediency.

The inability of the White House and Congress to reach agreement on our Nation’s federal budget has led to the potential shuttering of the contract tower program through a self-imposed sequestration process which required federal agencies to make cuts in key programs. Sequestration, along with renewed efforts by the Obama Administration to place a $100 user fee on general aviation, the determination by the IRS to impose federal excise taxes on operators who provide services for air charters, reductions in the budgets and services of our Customs and Board Patrol agency are just a few of the challenges we face today. These and other similar issues will undoubtedly continue to unfold in the coming months and we again will continue to engage key decision makers on all of these matters.

NATA’s recent Aviation Business and Legislative Conference and Congressional Reception in the beautiful Capitol Building provided the perfect opportunity for our members to hear from and meet with many key lawmakers and their staffs. This event further emphasized that your personal involvement in the political and regulatory processes will help make us even stronger as an organization. Meeting with your Senators and Representatives back home, talking to them about what is on your mind — what concerns you have — becoming a resource, and being aware of the importance of political advocacy are all steps that will go a long way in helping us to hit the ground running in 2013 and beyond.

Article originally appeared in Aviation Business Journal.

A Confession about Community

April 17, 2013

I moved to the Denver, Colorado area about a year and a half ago, and I have a confession to make. I joined the Colorado Aviation Business Association (CABA) pretty early on in my stint in Colorado and even sit on the legislative committee, but I only just recently attended my first big CABA meeting. Why did I pass on the last two holiday parties and several other events? It snowed – a lot. The roads were bad. I traveled for work that week and my flight was late the night before. I was sick. I broke my foot and spent six months on crutches. Basically, I had one excuse after another (although that crutch thing seemed kind of legit), because the truth was rather embarrassing for a full-grown adult to admit. Joining a new group like that – even a group of like-minded aviation professionals – felt a bit like going to a new junior high school. What if I don’t know anyone in this new community? It might be awkward. I might be bored. It might be a waste of my time.

When I worked for NATA and lived in the Washington, DC area, my sense of “community” was never in question. From the outside looking in, one might think the aviation community in DC is forced. We were “required” to spend quite a bit of time together at seemingly endless receptions, dinners, meetings, and other functions, but the people who make up that community – my trade association friends and colleagues, our wonderful association members, and even to a varying degree the regulators with whom I worked – are such incredible people that I felt blessed to be part of such a great community. Since I left DC, life has taken me to Kentucky, Kansas, and now Colorado and my incredible Beltway community seemed irreplaceable. I never even tried to be part of the aviation communities of those other states. They were just bases from which I parked my car at the airport and flew to visit a client somewhere else.

I attend most of the “big” national aviation trade conferences with a soft spot in my heart for NATA events. For me, NATA functions are like class reunions, and I am always excited to visit with other attendees and hear what’s new in our industry. In fact, I’m currently getting revved up to attend NATA’s Aviation Business and Legislative Conference next week in DC. But I always assumed the local events were unnecessary – a drain on my already limited time at home with my family.

Let me share with you what I learned at that CABA meeting last week: Our local aviation community is essential to our professional development and even sense of well-being. I cheated a bit at this event and found a client of mine to visit with at the beginning of the evening, but soon found my way to colleagues who overlap with my DC community and yes – met new people. I came away from the event energized for the future of my own business, excited about the opportunities to participate more fully with CABA, and amazed at the power of shared passion.

Are you active with your state or regional aviation business organization? The national trade associations increasingly rely on these state and regional groups as essential pipelines of state and regional issues and concerns. Aside from the obvious networking opportunities these local groups provide, I learned they can bridge the gap between the national events most of us attend and give us that injection of energy only found in large groups of people that have a zealous devotion to the same industry.

NATA’s new Aviation Business and Legislative Conference is being held next week in conjunction with the association’s committee meetings. I am looking forward to seeing my DC community, catching up on important issues, and experiencing the enthusiasm of my colleagues. Are you in need of a little community? It’s not too late to register for the Aviation Business and Legislative Conference and committee meetings!

Submitted by Guest Blogger Lindsey C. McFarren

President of McFarren Aviation Consulting


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.