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Site Insurance

Postby GBTFLY » Thu Nov 09, 2017 2:38 am

Hi Everybody

I have been tasked with investigating a new site insurance company for one of my local hang gliding and paragliding clubs located in the Northeastern US. This club currently has USHPA for site insurance but the club members are interested in looking into their options for site insurance. Any and all information that can help me with this task would be much appreciated. You can contact me on this forum or in a private email at GTET595@AOL.COM. Thanks for your help

Gary Trudeau
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Re: Site Insurance

Postby Bob Kuczewski » Thu Nov 09, 2017 3:36 am

Hello Gary,

I've come to believe that insurance has been detrimental to the recreational aspect of hang gliding. It keeps us perpetually behind the eight ball while hanging a big juicy target around our necks. I can't think of any other outdoor sport that has such a requirement. The "recreational use" statutes already shield landowners from liability for recreational uses of their land. But USHPA never mentions that because they want the recreational pilots to pick up the tab for the commercial operators who do need insurance.

If we want hang gliding to be sustainable in the long run we should be working to remove the mill stone of insurance from our necks.

The recreational use statutes vary from state to state. What state is your site in?
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Re: Site Insurance

Postby Rick Masters » Thu Nov 09, 2017 6:56 am

I agree with Bob.
Landowner liability across the United States has received dramatic new support from state governments in the past decade.
Many states specifically recognize hang gliding as an accepted form of public recreation under their recreational law.
Site insurance should only be considered if your state's recreational liability law is not accepted by the landowner.
But if he accepts your state's release of liability guarantee, you're done.
Private insurance incurs expense and brings with it its own set of additional liability concerns and may not be superior, anyway.
I would suggest you first present the landowner with a copy of your state's recreational law and offer assurances that your club will respect his land and privacy.
Formal permission is not to be sought. You remain the general public engaged in recreation. Designated club members can be responsible for gate access.
There is a comfort for the landowner in knowing that he is protected by the state from liability for allowing recreational access to his land.
When you compare this to private insurance, which always has a payout limit, you realize how much better a state blanket guarantee of protection is.
That is for the landowner.
The pilot and his driver remain responsible for their actions, including negligence, as do we all.

The other thing about private insurance, which really bothers a lot of us here at the US Hawks, is that it has been used by some groups of hang glider pilots to prevent other hang glider pilots from flying.
Restrictive "guilds" have been established all across the US, using private insurance as rationale, when it is clearly stated that hang gliding is a public right covered under state recreational law, as well as being a privilege open to all under federal law.
We'd like to see that change, where possible, because restricting hang gliding is not where we need to be right now.
The sport needs to be reinvigorated with a new attitude of openness, invitation and affordability.
The essential way to do this is to convince clubs that their insurance expense, in many cases, is unnecessary and counter-productive for the sport.
Last edited by Rick Masters on Thu Nov 09, 2017 10:21 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Site Insurance

Postby DaveSchy » Thu Nov 09, 2017 7:43 am

Gary,

I agree with Bob.

I have successfully negotiated public and private sites without the offer of insurance. I have always felt that site negotiation should have never been approached as "one size fits all", as it had from the former USHGA.

Private and public ownership requires differing strategies for an insurance free outcome. The negotiator's emphasis is on self-regulation, site protocols and money, in both cases. U$HPA has wrongly chosen the path of money to try to save their sorry selves with over regulation and membership requirements.

Here in Washington State, our outdoor recreation laws were more than sufficient until USHGA mistakenly started promoting site insurance along with our traditional 3rd party policy from Lloyd's of London. Lloyd's dropped 3rd party liability insurance in part because of the inclusion of paragliding and it's disastrous actuarial numbers. Lloyd's had no other option, partly because fees were being charged for competition.

Site and road maintenance cost reimbursements are NOT an ACCESS FEE under most outdoor recreation statutes (gravel, toilets, wind talkers and such).

Money being involved (greed), changed everything. We lost sites (public and private) at an alarming rate because people who thought they were good negotiators made land owners and public agencies paranoid by even OFFERING site insurance!

Institutionalizing a Forbonkian double speak mind set, and inclusion of paragliding and site insurance, resulted in the complete disaster that is now the corrupt and probably illegal RRG mess, and the decimation of a once proud, focused, and responsible group of pilots to it's current unsustainable level.

Negotiate from a position of strength of character, not weakness to money and self-promotion.
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Re: Site Insurance

Postby DaveSchy » Thu Nov 09, 2017 7:45 am

I agree with Bob, and Rick!
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Re: Site Insurance

Postby Bob Kuczewski » Thu Nov 09, 2017 10:10 am

I agree with Dave and Rick!    :thumbup:

There's also another thing that's worth mentioning about USHPA's insurance on government owned land. Because USHPA expelled me for constitutionally protected activities (speaking to my city council, testimony in court, creating an association of citizens), their insurance is easily challenged and defeated when used as a requirement for the public to use public land
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Re: Site Insurance

Postby Rick Masters » Thu Nov 09, 2017 10:56 am

Dave brings up a salient point.
Lloyd's dropped 3rd party liability insurance in part because of the inclusion of paragliding and it's disastrous actuarial numbers.

It wouldn't surprise me if this were the case. I may have mentioned my suspicions on this forum when it happened.
There may be as many as ten back injuries for every paragliding fatality, due to the nature of canopy collapse in ground turbulence.
As of this morning, I have verified about 1650 global paragliding deaths since 1986. This tally is most assuredly incomplete.
These are added to the hang gliding fatalities we have tried so hard to minimize over the years.
The total makes up the attrition of the new "free-flight" paradigm the global associations have so enthusiastically and stupidly embraced, which is critically examined by the insurance people.

Paragliding is a disaster in Europe.
Many European nations have enacted laws in the last ten years requiring a bond or insurance to fly, and now require substantial reimbursement for rescue.
Reinsurers have cut medical reimbursement in half for paragliding, recognizing it as "extreme risk."
This now applies equally to hang gliding.
It has all come about following 15 years of pretty much successful hang gliding before the advent of paragliding.
Liability comes into play when paragliders slam into bystanders.
Due to their extreme pendulum distance and delayed response, paragliders lose control authority at a much higher rate than hang gliders.
Combining parachuting and hang gliding was a disaster for hang gliding.
We need to separate the sports.

As I've said many times before, I feel sorry for the many hang glider pilots who have been suckered into supporting the downward spiral of hang gliding by throwing their money away with the RRG. Same for the Foundation for Free Flight.
I've even heard people who don't seem capable of thinking this through say that the Hawks are the problem.
That's laughable.
We need the discussion.
And we're not the problem.
We're the solution.
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Re: Site Insurance

Postby DaveSchy » Thu Nov 09, 2017 12:15 pm

Thank you, Rick.
I have always felt that the 3rd party insurance loss was inevitable with U$HPA's inclusion of a very different sport.

I begged the wealthy locals not to offer insurance when they took over negotiating (and controlling) Dog Mountain, but they had already drunk the Cloudbase Country Club purple Kool-Aid. Now, even though it is private timber company land, daily or yearly fees and U$HPA membership is, ahem... "required" there. (RS???) It became "theirs" not "ours".

AND, the RRG is NOT INSURANCE, it is a corporate bond that is underwritten by insurers.

The timber company did not ever expect site insurance, until it was so foolishly offered, and control was taken from the many and given to the few.
That is NOT self-regulation, it is Naziism and it is unnecessary and quite reprehensible.

The best we can hope is to open every pilot's eyes and watch the attrition accelerate, it is already past sustainable levels, so, very soon U$HPA membership will be moot and the FAA mandate to self regulate will come full circle. Our turbulence airworthy membership is already around 1/3 of U$HPA's.

My advice to Gary and others is to NOT incorporate, just be a US HAWKS CHAPTER with no dues, insurance or overhead beyond that which can be reimbursed by donations of the membership.
U$HPA spent membership money on their stupid mobile app and got rid of id cards, just so the Nazi site monitors could check a pilot's "papers".
The answer to that must be "oh, I just re-joined this morning before leaving, so it hasn't posted yet!!!"

So here's another thing, which is the resurgence of the "Bandito Site".
Every one wants to post their latest adventure, just log it on paper and STFU, instead. :shh:
Bring your close buddies, swear them to secrecy and...

Spread the word to JOIN US HAWKS.
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Re: Site Insurance

Postby Rick Masters » Thu Nov 09, 2017 1:35 pm

Love it.
Image
    Bandito Hawk. "Let's play ball!"

My advice to Gary and others is to NOT incorporate, just be a US HAWKS CHAPTER with no dues, insurance or overhead beyond that which can be reimbursed by donations of the membership.

A autonomous Chapter is simply a club that supports the US Hawks in thought and prayer.
You can do anything you want with your club.
If you do activities where liability risk is shared, such as towing, tandem or instruction, it might be wise to incorporate.
There is no formal connection to the Hawks beyond this forum.
The Hawks will provide ratings cards to individuals on request and verify skills through Chapter members, if necessary.
This is done to meet our responsibilities as per FAA guidelines.
Instead of creating a Frankenstein monster to take over the world, I'm hopeful that the US Hawks will mostly talk and let the Chapters do the heavy lifting.
After all, the Chapter members are the ones doing the flying.
We're just up here on our harmless little soapboxes trying to make things cheap, fast and fun.         :P
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Re: Site Insurance

Postby Bob Kuczewski » Fri Nov 10, 2017 2:41 am

Excellent posts gentlemen. I agree again.    :salute:

Rick Masters wrote:... I'm hopeful that the US Hawks will mostly talk and let the Chapters do the heavy lifting.
After all, the Chapter members are the ones doing the flying.

Good observations. The U.S. Hawks is highly dedicated to closely supporting our chapters. They're right on our front page - not buried three levels down behind one of 50 menu options.

We've had Chapter forums from the very beginning and we encourage new and old clubs to join us. It's very cool to have one site where you can see what's going on at clubs around the country and participate in their discussions. That magnifies our resources because we can share information and ideas nationally.

USHPA has been scared to death to give their members any voice at the national level. We're just the opposite. We do whatever we can to give our members a place to speak and to be heard!!
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