ALPA organized over 80 years ago to look after the interests of its members, and over time those interests have been constantly redefined and refined. The pilots who make up ALPA's National Retirement and Insurance Committee meet six times a year to review plans and find the best ways to market, fund, and insure them. The ALPA Membership and Council Services staff is the administrative arm of that Committee, taking care of the heavy lifting --dispensing technical advice, ensuring that the plans are well costed and funded, billing, reconciling premiums, issuing certificates of coverage on approval, and reviewing claims when they come in to confirm eligibility and to be sure the forms are complete.
Loss of License
The best example of pilots' unique insurance needs is Loss of License. Many companies offer a disability policy, but they normally define "disability" broadly as preventing many kinds of employment. Loss of License is based on an ALPA-negotiated own occupation definition of disability, which applies only to losing the FAA airman medical certificate. Conditions, such as being an insulin-dependent diabetic, for example, may prevent a pilot from flying, but not from engaging in other types of employment. If a pilot's medical certificate is withdrawn (and one estimate is that 30 percent of all pilots lose their medical certification, at least temporarily, by the time they're 60), the Loss of License policy kicks in after a 12-month wait.
Loss of License comes in two forms: a monthly benefit of as much as $3,600 for 48 months or a lump sum as large as $250,000 (based on age at the time of disability).
The lump sum could be used, for example, to train for a new profession or to buy a business if the claimant is unlikely to continue in the piloting profession. The monthly payment might be chosen by a pilot who anticipates that he or she will eventually be able to fly again and will need monthly support until then.
The other no-cost plan for apprentices is Group Term Life Insurance, the oldest of ALPA's plans and the most popular, with an enrollment of more than 20,000 pilots. This insurance, with maximum benefits of $250,000, has no exclusions for cause of death. It covers the pilot during any flying: civil, military, or recreational (coverage not easy to find in the wider marketplace).
ALPA also offers its members other insurance products. Visit www.alpa.org/mbin for more information.