NATA Introduces New Benefit Program

Beacon Aviation Insurance Services, Inc. will be the program manager for the new National Air Transportation Association’s Workers’ Compensation Insurance Program, effective January 1, 2013, NATA announced in September.

“The new program was developed not only to reduce member operating costs, but also to assist NATA in fostering and expanding its current array of safety programs,” said NATA’s president and CEO, Tom Hendricks, who introduced the change in a note to members in September. “We are proud to lead and support the advancement of safety standards that promote the highest levels of safety in our industry and are excited by the opportunity to broaden that support through NATA’s latest membership benefit program.”

John Cunningham, president of Beacon AIS, says his company is honored to have been selected to manage the new NATA Workers’ Compensation Insurance Program.

“Beacon has long recognized the franchise value of a relationship with NATA,” Cunningham told Aviation Business Journal. Beacon AIS respects the aviation industry, their member companies represent the ‘Best of the Best.’ Complemented by world class safety standards and a skilled NATA management team, the National Air Transportation Association and its member companies are without peer in the industry. We are extremely excited to play a role in the development of this unique program. Frankly, it’s a perfect match for us: Our expertise is Workers’ Compensation for the general aviation industry. Our corporate principals have over 120 years of experience with workers’ compensation. We created Beacon Aviation Insurance Services specifically to write aviation Workers’ Compensation coverage. Aviation is in our name. So to be aligned with NATA, the premiere association of general aviation businesses is quite an honor.”

Beacon AIS is based in Sarasota, Florida and specializes in insurance for the general aviation industry, with a primary focus on managing workers’ compensation programs for FBOs, airline service companies, municipal airports, flight schools, charter operations, and business jet operations. The new program, underwritten by Companion Property & Casualty Group, will be offered in every state and was designed exclusively for NATA members. Beacon AIS is instituting premium credits for participants in NATA’s Safety 1st programs, among other perks.

“Workers’ compensation, of course, provides for coverage in the event that an employee of any company is injured on the job, and the benefits that are paid to that employee are defined by each of the states,” explained Robert McManus, Chief Operation Officer at Beacon AIS. “So, fundamentally, any insurance Workers’ Compensation policy or program that we would sell would be identical to what anybody else would sell in that regard, except for the endorsements that can be added to a policy and things that we can do to reduce the cost of coverage. One of the best cost reduction techniques that we have come to appreciate is the Safety 1st program offered by NATA. This program is first class and we plan to provide anyone who has participated in the NATA Safety 1st program with our absolute lowest price going in.”

In addition to preferential pricing, McManus says the Safety 1st program will be fully integrated into the new NATA Worker’s Compensation Program to help NATA members with loss control, and says the new program will offer up-front rewards for NATA members with proven safety experience.

NATA members, who switch over to the new program, will also benefit from is a switch from a group dividend plan to an individual dividend plan, according to McManus.

“The individual plan is going to be a great benefit to the vast majority of NATA members because these are companies whose workplaces are extraordinarily safe, especially those who elect to participate in the NATA Safety 1st program,” Cunningham said. “The vast majority of NATA members will come out ahead in an individual dividend program over a group dividend program; and a second major benefit to this new program is that dividends will pay out within 10 months after the policy expiration. This is in stark contrast to many group dividend plans that take up to five years to pay their full dividend. Now there’s going to be a much faster payout providing a cash flow benefit to the policyholder.”

Unparalleled customer service with a personal touch will be another factor that sets the new NATA program apart, according to McManus. We’ll have a direct dial phone number for NATA program claims and a designated team at Companion Property & Casualty Group will be handling claims from NATA members in the program.

“Both Beacon, the program manager and Companion Insurance Company are organizations which have a solid pedigree behind them, having been in this business for a very long time with excellent track records,” McManus said. “But they’re not so big, like you see with some of the big multinational corporations, to where customer service can become an afterthought. The service commitment being made by both Beacon and Companion to the new NATA program is stellar, and I think it’s something we’ll all be proud of once the program gets underway in January.”

It’s important to note that NATA members’ current policies will not automatically default to the new program. NATA encourages its member companies to contact their insurance agent prior to their own Workers’ Compensation renewal and ask their agent to call Beacon’s dedicated NATA line at (941) 343-8943 or email nata@beaconais.com to learn more about the benefits.

“I’m assuming that many readers of this article are already members of the current NATA program – and there might also be a number of members who are not, for a variety of reasons – but, in all cases, these employers have a workers’ compensation policy right now, with policies that typically run for one year at a time,” McManus says. “As they get towards the expiration of their policy, their agents begin the process of preparing for the next policy, and usually that process begins about 90 days in advance of the expiration of a given policy. At that point there should be a conversation between the agent and the policyholder as to what comes next. That’s the point where we’d like to be given the opportunity to offer a quote through the new NATA program. Beacon already has contracts with probably 90 to 95 percent of agents that currently work with NATA members, so it should be easy and seamless for those agents to have their insurance submitted to Beacon and Companion for pricing consideration. But it is a switch and NATA members will need to take action to make the most of the new opportunity. We don’t want anybody falling through the cracks and losing out.”

For more information on the new NATA Workers’ Compensation Insurance Program offered by Beacon AIS, including answers to a list of Frequently Asked Questions, please visit http://www.beaconais.com/NATA/ or you can send an e-mail to nata@beaconais.com.

By Colin Bane

This article first appeared in the Q4 article of Aviation Business Journal, click here to read the full issue.

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