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RRGs, Insurance, and Mutuals ... Oh My!

Postby Bob Kuczewski » Sun Oct 25, 2015 1:48 pm

The recent letter by USHPA announcing their loss of insurance is ushering in a new era in our sport. We will need to be smart about choosing the right options for our future.

USHPA has announced their intention to form a "Risk Retention Group" as one mechanism. This could be the best thing - or the worst thing - that's happened to hang gliding. The difference may depend on what an RRG really is and how it is implemented.

For that reason I strongly urge everyone to hold off on contributing money to any such project until we've examined all options. Since the RRG is the first one on the table, let's give it a good examination before jumping blindly on board. I'm going to start with Wikipedia's definition of an RRG, and I invite others to chime in to describe the many ways this could work for (or against) our sport. I also invite other alternative such as traditional insurance, self insurance, mutuals, etc. Now is the time to get this right, so please don't be shy.

From Wikipedia at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Risk_retention_group

Wikipedia wrote:Risk retention group

A risk retention group (RRG) is an alternative risk transfer entity created by the federal Liability Risk Retention Act (LRRA). RRGs must form as liability insurance companies under the laws of at least one state—its charter state or domicile. The policyholders of the RRG are also its owners and membership must be limited to organizations or persons engaged in similar businesses or activities, thus being exposed to the same types of liability. Most RRGs are regulated as captive insurance companies. However, RRGs domiciled in states without captive law are regulated as traditional insurance companies.

RRGs provide their members with the following benefits:

* Program control
* Long-term rate stability
* Customized Loss control and risk management practices
* Dividends for good loss experience
* Access to reinsurance markets
* Stable source of liability coverage at affordable rates
* Multi-state operations

History

Under the McCarran-Ferguson Act, most insurance matters are regulated at the state, rather than federal, level. However, in the late 1970s, Congress faced an unprecedented crisis in insurance markets, during which many businesses were unable to obtain product liability coverage at any cost.

Congress was forced to take action, and, after several years of study, enacted the Product Liability Risk Retention Act of 1981, which permitted individuals or businesses with similar or related liability exposure to form "risk retention groups" for the purpose of self-insuring. The Act only applied to product liability and completed operations insurance.

When companies faced similar issues obtaining other types of liability insurance in the 1980s, Congress enacted the Liability Risk Retention Act (LRRA), which extended the Act to all types of commercial liability insurance. Under the LRRA, a domiciliary state is charged with regulating the formation and operation of a risk retention group.

The LRRA pre-empts "any State law, rule regulation, or order to the extent that such law, rule, regulation or order would make unlawful, or regulate, directly or indirectly, the operation of a risk retention group." The LRRA also prohibits states from enacting regulations that discriminate against risk retention groups.

However, not all non-domiciliary state regulation of an RRG is prohibited under the LRRA. RRGs must pay state premium taxes, comply with state unfair claim settlement practices statutes and register with and designate the state insurance commissioner as its agent for service of process. A state insurance commissioner can perform an examination of an RRG if the RRG's domicile state has not performed, or refuses to perform, such an examination. However, the bulk of regulation of an RRG is left to the state which licensed it.

In response to the act, 44 RRGs were formed by the end of 1987. Many of the RRGs formed during this time were domiciled in Vermont, one of the leading captive domiciles in the world. Vermont already had a fully developed captive program by the time the LRRA was passed and could offer assistance in setting up RRGs in a way that other states were unprepared to do.

During the mid-1990s the insurance market softened, so, in many cases, it was cheaper to purchase liability insurance through traditional insurance carriers. While many RRGs were formed during the decade, many more ceased operating. In the year 2000, the number of RRGs had only grown to 65 in the 14 years since the passage of the Act.

After September 11, the insurance market hardened. This led to a period of rapid growth for risk retention groups. Between 2000 and 2008 the number of RRGs quadrupled to reach 262. Besides the hard insurance market, a number of other factors led to such rapid growth in the industry. Captive insurance really came into its own during the early 2000s with more and more states enacting captive laws and seeking alternative risk transfer vehicles as a steady source of revenue. Many states, including the District of Columbia and Montana, began to develop their captive programs, creating captive departments, and courting potential groups.

Another factor that helped spur RRG growth was the increasing challenge for doctors and hospitals in the Northeast to obtain medical malpractice insurance, especially in such states as Pennsylvania and New York. RRGs in the healthcare sector expanded by nearly six times during the decade. The number of groups in this sector, always the leading sector for risk retention groups, grew from 26 to 159 between 2000 and December 2012.

As of 2014, RRGs offer liability insurance coverages to a wide variety of insureds/policyholders. Besides hospitals and physicians, the healthcare sector provides liability insurance to nursing homes, dental practices, and HMOs. There are RRGs for educational institutions, for churches, and for non-profit groups. There are RRGs for agricultural concerns, national associations and state lobbyists. Every year, RRGs are emerging in new business niches responding to the need for affordable and available liability insurance.

State regulation

Several states actively seek to license RRGs. Vermont is top among these, having already established its captive department by the time the LRRA was passed. Early on, many states licensed RRGs, but only a handful of states have continued to do so. In the past few years, the District of Columbia has been licensing more and more RRGs. Also seeking to license RRGs are Montana, Arizona, South Carolina, Hawaii and Nevada.

While many states are actively building their RRG roster, some states view RRGs with suspicion. Typically, these are larger states such as New York and California that have few, if any, licensed RRGs and express distrust for RRGs operating in their states. This distrust stems from the pre-emption provision in the LRRA which prevents state insurance departments regulating non-domiciled RRGs that are conducting business in their state.

At the heart of the LRRA is single state regulation of risk retention groups. Pursuant to this unique feature of the Act, the insurance department of one state, which is selected by the RRG, licenses the RRG under its laws and maintains primary regulatory oversight of the group. Once licensed in one state, the RRG can operate in all states without the need to be “admitted” or “qualified as a surplus lines carrier” in the other states as is required of other types of liability insurers.

In its 1989 Operations Report to Congress, the Department of Commerce (DOC) found that although RRGs find the single-state regulatory structure necessary, state insurance regulators wonder whether it pre-empts too much authority, leaving states insufficient authority to adequately regulate RRGs. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) expressed concern that the LRRA resulted in a “hazardous regulatory void.” This was echoed by the New York Insurance Department’s concern that Congress has “left behind an inadequate scheme of state regulation.”

The DOC observed that the “main concern of regulators lies with their reluctance to accept and rely on the licensing requirements and regulatory actions of states other than their own.” The DOC report noted that discussions with regulators about the operation of the Act “usually evoke the concern that there are certain states which they consider weak, i.e. where it is easy for a company to get licensed and regulatory oversight is lax.”

This “weak-link” fear carries over to the present day, with the 2005 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report on RRGs stating that: “Some (non-domiciliary) regulators...expressed concerns that domiciliary states were lowering their regulatory standards to attract RRGs to domicile in their states for economic development purposes. They sometimes referred to these practices as the ‘regulatory race to the bottom.’”

The DOC report from 1989 pointed out that, “Uneven state regulatory standards and oversight were not created by the LRRA, but the Act—because of its emphasis on single-state regulation and the necessity for regulators to rely on each other’s regulatory attentiveness—has highlighted the situation.”

At about the time the DOC published its report, the Dingell Report, the product of an 18-month Congressional investigation and hearings held during 1988 and 1989 on causes of insurer insolvencies, was released. The report concluded that insolvency problems were primarily caused by fraud, mismanagement, and weak state regulation. The report’s general prescription was for more comprehensive and competent regulation, warning that if such oversight were not forthcoming by the states, that the federal government would be compelled to fill the void.

Following these reports in the late 1980s, the NAIC, faced with the threat of a federal regulatory system replacing the state system of regulation, announced its adoption of uniform financial regulatory standards to meet the need for a stronger regulatory system.

Despite the NAIC’s attempt at standardizing state insurance regulation, each state has its own licensing requirements for RRGs, and imposes its own fees and taxes.

Current issues

Since the LRRA was passed there have been several attempts to amend the act, but nothing has ever come of any of these attempts. The most recent attempt was made in March, 2011 when the Risk Retention Modernization Act (HR 2126) was introduced into Congress. While the bill never made it to the Congressional floor, supporters have plans to reintroduce the bill during the next Congressional session. The Risk Retention Modernization Act (RRMA) includes three specific elements—the addition of property coverage; improved corporate governance standards, and the establishment of a federal mediator.

Supporters of the LRRA have long wished that the law also covered property and if RRMA is passed RRGs will be allowed to write property coverages along with liability. This long desired amendment is especially important for RRGs that insure institutions—such as schools, churches, and hospitals—with multiple locations. Right now RRG insureds must obtain their property coverages separately. Not only would it be more convenient to get their property coverage through their RRG, it could also save a considerable amount in premiums.

The second element of the proposed Act is to implement improved corporate governance demands that were first suggest in 2005 in the GAO’s report on RRGs and later taken up by the NAIC. While many of the new requirements could be burdensome to RRGs, many in the industry feel that the strengthened regulations can only help to legitimize RRGs.

The third element in the RRMA could prove to be the most beneficial to RRGs. The Act would establish a federal mediator, within the Federal Insurance Office (FIO), that would be in charge of settling disputes between states and RRGs. Right now, when a non-domicilary state bars an RRG from writing a certain type of business or tries to regulate an RRG as a domiciled RRG, the RRG’s only recourse is to take the dispute to court which can prove costly for a company to pursue. With a federal mediator to interpret the LRRA and any amendments, an RRG will have a much stronger position in the states where it conducts business.

In late July 2010, the Congressional House Financial Services Oversight & Investigation Subcommittee submitted a letter to the GAO to conduct a study into states over-reaching the regulation of RRGs. A report was issued on January 9, 2012 titled “Risk Retention Groups: Clarifications Could Facilitate States’ Implementation of the Liability Risk Retention Act.” The report recommended that Congress should pass legislation clarifying registration, tax and fee requirements imposed by states on RRGs, as well as providing specific definitions of the type of insurance coverages that should be permitted under the LRRA.

Examples of Risk Retention Groups

United Educators is a reciprocal risk retention group created to provide liability insurance to educational institutions in the U.S.

Associations and publications

The RRG marketplace is served by the National Risk Retention Association (NRRA). The association was formed within a year of the passage of the LRRA and has been a voice for RRGs since 1987. NRRA operates as an advocate for risk retention groups and purchasing groups and has a long history of successful legal and regulatory representation of the interests of risk retention and purchasing group liability insurance programs. NRRA holds an annual meeting in the fall with programs specifically oriented to those involved in the industry.

RRGs are often grouped with captive and other self-insured entities and, therefore, have their interests represented by state captive associations, such as the Vermont Captive Insurance Association, and other captive associations, such as the Captive Insurance Company Association.

The Risk Retention Reporter (RRR) is a monthly journal that monitors the RRG and PG marketplace. Founded in April 1987, the RRR is the only information source devoted to this niche sector of the insurance industry. The RRR also produces an annual book, the Risk Retention Group Directory & Guide, which offers details for every operating RRG and analytic and financial information on RRGs.

Advantages

* Avoidance of multiple state filing and licensing requirements
* Member control over risk and litigation management issues
* Establishment of stable market for coverage and rates
* Elimination of market residuals
* Exemption from countersignature laws for agents and brokers
* No expense for fronting fees
* Unbundling of services

Disadvantages

* Risks are limited to liability insurance
* Not permitted to write risks outside its homogenous group
* No guaranty fund coverage for members
* May not be able to comply with proof of financial responsibility laws
* Can be without a financial rating from a rating agency

References

* Risk Retention Groups: Time for Property http://www.riskandinsurance.com/time-for-property
* http://www.rrr.com/
* http://www.rrr.com/education/
* http://www.riskretention.org/
* http://www.irmi.com/expert/articles/2003/mead10.aspx
* http://www.govtechinsurance.com/profile.html
* Risk Retention Groups: Preemption of State Law http://library.findlaw.com/1997/Dec/1/126440.html
* United Educators Insurance, a Reciprocal Risk Retention Group
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Re: RRGs, Insurance, and Mutuals ... Oh My!

Postby Rick Masters » Sun Oct 25, 2015 3:51 pm

For that reason I strongly urge everyone to hold off on contributing to any such project until we've examined all options.

    There are only two options for hang glider pilots at this time.
    One is to go along with the USHPA and buy public liability insurance for seven paragliders for each hang glider, or go outlaw, like many of us, and fly only unregulated sites.
    A potential third option exists. An alternative to hang glider pilots buying public liability insurance for paragliders is also to self-insure or piggy-back on the self-insurance or commercial insurance of another non-profit with similar goals. But that cannot happen until enough hang glider pilots show interest. That option begins to gain traction at around 2000 members, where a $50 membership buys a $1,000,000 bond the first year (plus costs). This bond would be held in reserve for payout for public liability awards involving solo free-flying recreational hang gliding only.
    It costs nothing to find out. Hang glider pilots should contact Bobk for free membership in the US Hawks.
    Member numbers will determine the cost of dues. With a few hundred hang glider pilots, it won't happen.
    But with a few thousand members, we're on our way to leaving the USHPA and growing our sport again.
Last edited by Rick Masters on Sun Oct 25, 2015 4:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: RRGs, Insurance, and Mutuals ... Oh My!

Postby Bob Kuczewski » Sun Oct 25, 2015 3:57 pm

RickMasters wrote:Member numbers will determine the cost of dues. With a few hundred hang glider pilots, it won't happen.
    But with a few thousand members, we're on our way to leaving the USHPA and growing our sport again.


You're absolutely right Rick, and the loss of USHPA's control of insurance is opening up that possibility and many more!!!

By the way, in the summer of 2010 a handful of us founded the US Hawks with this forum. One of the first things we did was to write up the Frequently Asked Questions page (FAQ) which included (and still does include) this question/answer:

Won't the US Hawks further fragment our resources?
Hang glider pilots typically pool their resources to reduce the costs of insurance and to lobby for protection of flying sites. There's no reason that the US Hawks couldn't team with either USHPA or the HGAA on both of those issues. In fact, having multiple organizations might increase the total number of people participating, and therefore increase both the insurance pool and the lobbying efforts.


If we are smart, that's what can come from USHPA's blunder. I am hopeful that we can end up with an "RRG" or a "Mutual" or some other kind of risk pooling that will be available not only to USHPA, but to the US Hawks, to the Crestline Soaring Association, to Windsports, and even to individual pilots. The cost of membership in this RRG might be fairly apportioned based on claims history. That would give each organization (or individual) an incentive to operate safely. It might also allow for differing costs based on wing type so the problems with one wing don't end up being paid for by the other.

These are all parts of this puzzle that need to be discussed very quickly since time is running out on USHPA's current coverage. Someone recently mentioned "mutuals", and if anyone has any background on them, please add what you know to this topic. Thanks.

I'd like to finish with Rick's final thought about numbers. He's absolutely right that numbers matter. The more people we can bring to the table under the US Hawks banner - the greater our chance of getting an insurance system that's not a USHPA monolith. Now is a good time to advertise to try to bring new members and new chapters into the US Hawks. Thanks to everyone who's done that, and let's ramp it up!! :thumbup:
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Re: RRGs, Insurance, and Mutuals ... Oh My!

Postby Bob Kuczewski » Sun Oct 25, 2015 9:15 pm

I've spent much of the day on the phone to a lot of smart people. The suggestion of a "mutual" insurance group came up as well.

From Wikipedia at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mutual_insurance

Wikipedia wrote:Mutual insurance

A mutual insurance company is an insurance company owned entirely by its policyholders. Any profits earned by a mutual insurance company are rebated to policyholders in the form of dividend distributions or reduced future premiums. In contrast, a stock insurance company is owned by investors who have purchased company stock; any profits generated by a stock insurance company are distributed to the investors without necessarily benefiting the policyholders.

The concept of mutual insurance originated in England in the late 17th century to cover losses due to fire. The mutual/casualty insurance industry began in the United States in 1752 when Benjamin Franklin established the Philadelphia Contributionship for the Insurance of Houses From Loss by Fire. Mutual property/casualty insurance companies exist now in nearly every country around the globe.

The global trade association for the industry, the International Cooperative and Mutual Insurance Federation, claims 216 members in 74 countries, in turn representing over 400 insurers. In North America the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies (NAMIC), founded in 1895, is the sole representative of U.S. and Canadian mutual insurance companies in the areas of advocacy and education.


History in the U.S.

The "mutual holding company" structure was first introduced in Iowa in 1995, and has spread since then. There have been concerns that the mutual holding company conversion is disadvantageous for the owners of the company, the policyholders. The major disadvantage of mutual insurance companies is the difficulty of raising capital.

In the 111th Congress, Carolyn Maloney sponsored a bill that she claimed would have protected mutual holding company owners. The measure, H.R. 3291, died in committee.

Mutual holding companies are one way to undergo privatization, also called demutualization.


List of mutual insurance companies

Bermuda

* Oil Insurance Limited

Canada

* The Economical Insurance Group
* Gore Mutual Insurance Company
* The Kings Mutual Insurance Company
* North Waterloo Farmers Mutual Insurance Company
* Townsend Farmers' Mutual Fire Insurance Company
* The Wawanesa Mutual Insurance Co.
* Portage Mutual Insurance
* Grenville Mutual Insurance Company
* The Commonwell Mutual Insurance Group
* The Equitable Life Insurance Company of Canada

Denmark

* Tryg (owned 60% by the mutual company Tryghedsgruppen)

Faroe Islands

* Tryggingarfelagið Føroyar

Finland

* Pohjantähti Mutual Insurance

Japan

* Asahi Mutual Life Insurance Company
* Meiji Yasuda Life Insurance Company
* Nippon Life Insurance Company
* Sumitomo Life Insurance Company

New Zealand

* FMG Insurance

Philippines

* Insular Life

Slovenia

* Vzajemna

South Africa

* PPS (Professional Provident Society)
* Iemas
* AVBOB

Spain

* Mutua Madrileña

Sweden

* Länsförsäkringar

United Kingdom

* Shepherds Friendly Society
* The Equitable Life Assurance Society
* NFU Mutual
* Engage Mutual Assurance
* Liverpool Victoria
* Health Shield
* Together Mutual Insurance

United States

* Acacia Life Insurance Company
* American Family Insurance
* Ameritas Life Insurance Company
* Amica Mutual Insurance Company
* Assurity Life Insurance Company
* Auto-Owners Insurance
* CAMICO
* Commonwealth Mutual Insurance Company of America
* Connecticut Mutual Life Insurance
* COUNTRY Financial
* CUNA Mutual Group
* Employers Mutual Casualty Company
* FM Global
* Grange Mutual Casualty Company
* Guardian Life[11]
* Health Care Service Corporation (Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois, Michigan, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas)
* Horace Mann
* Lafayette Life
* Liberty Mutual
* Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company
* Medical Mutual of Ohio
* Minnesota Mutual Companies, Inc.
* Missouri Employers Mutual
* Mutual Benefit Life Insurance
* Mutual of America
* Mutual of Omaha
* National Life Group
* Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company
* New England Life
* New York Central Mutual Fire Insurance Company
* New York Life
* The Norfolk & Dedham Group
* Noridian Mutual Insurance Company
* Northwestern Mutual
* Ohio National Life Insurance Company
* Pacific Life Insurance Company
* PEMCO
* Penn Mutual
* Pure
* Sentry Insurance
* Shelter Insurance
* State Farm Insurance
* State Mutual Insurance Company
* UNIFI Companies
* Union Central Life Insurance Company
* USAA
* Wisconsin Mutual Insurance Company
* Western Mutual Insurance Group


The Wikipedia page has links to almost all of those organizations.
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Re: RRGs, Insurance, and Mutuals ... Oh My!

Postby Bob Kuczewski » Mon Oct 26, 2015 2:51 pm

California State Law
         (http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/displaycode?section=civ&group=00001-01000&file=840-848)

846. An owner of any estate or any other interest in real property, whether possessory or nonpossessory, owes no duty of care to keep the premises safe for entry or use by others for any recreational purpose or to give any warning of hazardous conditions, uses of, structures, or activities on those premises to persons entering for a recreational purpose, except as provided in this section.

A "recreational purpose," as used in this section, includes activities such as fishing, hunting, camping, water sports, hiking, spelunking, sport parachuting, riding, including animal riding, snowmobiling, and all other types of vehicular riding, rock collecting, sightseeing, picnicking, nature study, nature contacting, recreational gardening, gleaning, hang gliding, private noncommercial aviation activities, winter sports, and viewing or enjoying historical, archaeological, scenic, natural, or scientific sites.

An owner of any estate or any other interest in real property, whether possessory or nonpossessory, who gives permission to another for entry or use for the above purpose upon the premises does not thereby

    (a) extend any assurance that the premises are safe for that purpose,
       or
    (b) constitute the person to whom permission has been granted the legal
          status of an invitee or licensee to whom a duty of care is owed,
       or
    (c) assume responsibility for or incur liability for any injury to person or
          property caused by any act of the person to whom permission has been
          granted except as provided in this section.

This section does not limit the liability which otherwise exists

    (a) for willful or malicious failure to guard or warn against a dangerous
          condition, use, structure or activity;
       or
    (b) for injury suffered in any case where permission to enter for the above
          purpose was granted for a consideration other than the consideration, if any,
          paid to said landowner by the state, or where consideration has been received
          from others for the same purpose;
       or
    (c) to any persons who are expressly invited rather than merely permitted to
          come upon the premises by the landowner.

Nothing in this section creates a duty of care or ground of liability for injury to person or property.


You don't even have to be a lawyer to understand that language.    ;)
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Re: RRGs, Insurance, and Mutuals ... Oh My!

Postby JoeF » Mon Oct 26, 2015 9:16 pm

Property owners do not need the "waiver". Waving the waiver into the face of site negotiations might be working against the aims of hang gliding.
Poor awareness of the protection given to landowners by states' statutes might be working against HG goals. Offering a "waiver" to the property owners ... a waiver that is not needed... could be hurting HG. The all-state progress on this liability matter was not in place when modern renaissance of HG started; but now the protection for landowners is in place with respect to free-permit-of-recreation on their lands. Emphasizing the reality is probably the strong positon ---guaranteed by state statute (far stronger than an tiny org's "waiver". Further pressing the waiver into the face of property owners by HG orgs might be very counterproductive in the long haul.
Note: the liability of a recreationist hurting another recreationist or the car or roof ... is something else. Consider avoiding crowds; stay conservative.

See links to each state for status up to 2003 at the bottom of the page:
https://asci.uvm.edu/equine/law/recreate/recreate.htm

Not charging a fee is a key relationship.
San Diego City is already immune from HG liability if San Diego permits freely recreation on their property.
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Re: RRGs, Insurance, and Mutuals ... Oh My!

Postby JoeF » Tue Oct 27, 2015 7:10 am

Morning meditation note:

At the beginning of the HG renaissance we did not have what is in place now with regard to the states of the USA. Now all states have immunity for landowners (leasing managers, etc) from liability for recreationers who are not charged and who are not invited, but are simply allowed to use land for recreation or scientific purposes. The property owner loses immunity to the liability when charge or invitation occurs; then the landowner owes a duty of care.

A large sector of the approach for HG sites is now counterproductive. On both sides of the equation landowners and HG users may be "shooting themselves in the foot by their own guns". Landowners do not need the "waiver" to be immune to no-charge no-invite recreational use of their property; the state's strength keeps the landowners immune to the liability for what occurs by recreation users (so long as invitation and the no-charge relation maintains). The state's backing on such is the strong matter; to beg with a waiver from a tiny org is to play the weak matter.

A free-use non-invitee recreationist user of others' property is responsible for damages he or she does to properties or persons, but the landowner is not liable. Landowners are often not well informed how strongly they are protected on this matter.

There are some graces that a free-user may extend to landowners without breaking the "no-charge" relation. For example, a free-user may clean the property and leave the property better than found. And there are some detail other graces that may be arranged; look into donated partial property taxes as a possibility.

However, say a HG club gets the big "OK" from a landowner; then that club, if acting as a pseudo owner begins to "charge" other recreationists, then that club might become liable to those charged recreationists and might be liable for maintaining safe conditions, etc. That is, charging and inviting breaks the very thing of freedom that hang glider pilots may want.
Consider Sylmar; if I fly and land on the LZ and am charged, then the club becomes a charger land manager and loses liability immunity with respect to my injuring myself upon landing; however, if the club simply lets me land and not charge me, then they are protected by the State of California from being liable for my landing injury. Forcing membership payment and day-use fee may break the free-use immunity deal. Details of the statutes may allow reception of donations for brush maintenance and the like. Charging and inviting may be the hammers that constrain the growth of free-flight!

DOCKWEILER: A non-charged non-invited hang glider pilot brings his or her hang glider to the beach site and flies and injures himself or herself. The land owners and site managers would be immune from liability for that injury. But a student who is charged or invited or a pilot who is invited to an event forms a different scene; then the landowner/site manager loses the immunity to liability; a Windsports student or Otto Meet invited pilot or visitor is owed a duty of care by the landowner/site manager. Differently, spontaneous freely-permitted non-invited-by-site-owner/manager recreation- arriving pilots flying or visitors watching are not owed any duty of care by the landowner-manager and have no effective reach to the state-protected landowner-manager. Things change big when a formal "meet" occurs or when commercial instruction occurs.

EVERY landowner is immune from liability when non-invitation and non-charging relationship maintains. Working confidently with the facts may well win much more "sites" for HG than the addictive push of a waiver that pretends to give the landowner something THEY ALREADY HAVE (but may not be aware of adequately). The waiver in the faces of landowners may now be working against the aims of the HG community. All USA states have seen the benefit to landowners and the citizens and have thus enacted statutes about free recreational use of properties. Note: Keep the "vehicle" status that FAA extends to hang gliding; FAA separates hang gliders from aircraft; do not establish airstrips or "airports" on properties; just run and jump into sky and land your recreational vehicle. EVER be a respectful user of property. Know the stark difference between charge-control-invite and the distinct simple arrival and use. U$hPa was born at a different time when the current immunity status was not in place; a new era may grow, if the HG community emphasizes the facts while being exemplary gracing users of properties.
Last edited by JoeF on Tue Oct 27, 2015 9:16 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: RRGs, Insurance, and Mutuals ... Oh My!

Postby DaveSchy » Tue Oct 27, 2015 7:19 am

So,

Another "decision" of the "Bored" without a vote of the membership. Not quite a democratic process, and frankly insulting.

The "necessity" of insurance is a red herring, floating belly up at the surface of an organization that was drained of its vitality after inviting (boneless) Dracula in!

The Outdoor Recreation Act shields any land owner in this state (WA) from such claims. California has a similar law. Every USHPA member has signed the obviously worthless "Waiver" as well. :srofl:

Schools or individuals making money from this sport are not going to survive? Baloney! They can charge more to cover their decision to run a business, just as I pay to be a licensed electrician to work legitimately, I pass that overhead on to my clients.

Yes, schools might grow the sport, but people engaging in the business of hang gliding do so to fly more often or to write off some of their costs, not for the glory of "growing USHPA".

Unchecked growth is called "cancer".

Remember the cry that went up when Lloyd's of London cancelled our policy?
No? Oh, was that a secret too?

The Board has decided to turn our national HANG GLIDING club into a PARAGLIDING insurance company (RRG), (only $2 million in start up costs, what a bargain!) without a vote of their membership (again). I do not wish to be involved in owning an insurance company, thank you. Besides, members will not own this new entity, the USHPA corporation will, if I have read this correctly.

I think I'll read Pagen regarding the death spiral.
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Re: RRGs, Insurance, and Mutuals ... Oh My!

Postby Red » Tue Oct 27, 2015 9:06 am

I agree with much of what JoeF has said on this topic. I am no expert in insurance, so all of what I say here is accumulated from life, not from specific cases. I like the concept of mutual insurance, because the members are owners, and all profits go back to the members. I really can not imagine that the HG insurance we have now would ever give us a penny back.

The "mutual"term should be explained, maybe. If the mutual company collects more money than they pay out in any given period of time, then the excess (profits) are paid back to the members, or rates are reduced. If the company is hit with losses exceeding the income, then the members will need to pony up any shortfall, distributed equally. That could be done with an increase in the premiums, or a simple one-time assessment on the members, on a case-by-case basis. Without a huge pool of ready cash to attract hungry lawyers, a mutual company should be able to operate with less staff, and fewer headaches. I do not claim any of this stuff is automatic, but with a decent membership number, I think mutual insurance could be a viable option.

Some USA states will have options to protect land-owners from liability, independent of any need for insurance from us. If anybody can provide some real expertise in these fields, it would be good to hear from them here.
Cheers,
Red

P.S. Free advice, maybe worth the price,
for new and low-airtime HG pilots, on my web page . . .

https://user.xmission.com/~red/
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Re: RRGs, Insurance, and Mutuals ... Oh My!

Postby JoeF » Tue Oct 27, 2015 9:38 am

It seems now ALL states in USA insulate landowners with respect to liability from the actions of non-invited and non-charged recreational users of their property.

But notice: Say I am a non-invited and non-charged user of a land area; say I am a recreating person with my recreational implements. But then say I get the bright idea to form an event where I invite others to gather on a specific space of that property on a specific day and time; I am betting that I office in such action as a quasi-manager of a space and incur over myself a duty of care that that space is safe for my invitees; and with that duty of care, I bet that I become NOT IMMUNE to liability in relation to the invitees. (Still, the base landowner would be immune of liability.) With such, although I invited strongly the gathering of people for the first seven meets of the modern renaissance in 1970s, I do not continue such attractive invitations. Rather, two or more HGs could each individually freely take 100% responsibility in choosing to show recreationally at a spot on someone's property. Stay solo, unless one is willing to take on liabilities; avoid the invitation relation. "I am going to spot X; I am not inviting you to spot X; do you think you will be there also?" Such is not an invitation, but a question.

=============
Say I fly off Crestline without any invitation or charge. Say I land on the green LZ of Andy Jackson Airpark. Assume I am NOT a member of the CSS. Assume that I am not invited to land on the green. Assume that no one comes over to charge me for using the green LZ for a landing. Then CSS and Dept. of Water would not be liable for my injuring myself in the landing. Differently, say CSS comes over and charges me a day-use fee as I lie on the ground injured; say I pay the charge; then it seems CSS created a charge relationship and may then lose the immunity from liability that the California recreational statute provides. Because CSS charges members and guest pilots for use of the LZ, then CSS is not immune for liabilities of such members and guest pilots. Recommendation to CSS: If a non-member recreational pilot lands on the LZ green, be sure to avoid charging the recreational pilot for that day; say nothing to him or her! BUT have an anonymous donation box where anyone may place a donation in gratitude for keeping the grass green; such would not break the immunity provided by the State. The free-user is also free to gift anyone he or she chooses; gifting does not break the immunity relationship.

==============
Join a National Hang Gliding Organization: US Hawks at ushawks.org

View pilots' hang gliding rating at: US Hang Gliding Rating System
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