Alaska Pilots Protest Insurance Rates

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High insurance premiums are forcing Alaska's small charter operators out of business, a half-dozen pilots said during a recent forum in Wasilla. The pilots met with the state insurance director, Linda Hall, and state Sen. Charlie Huggins, the Anchorage Daily News reported last week. "Air taxis provide an essential air service and you're losing them," said operator Dave Glenn. He said liability coverage on his four-seat M-7 Maule costs $11,400 per year. The pilots asked that the state create an insurance pool to offer lower premiums, or rescind its requirement of at least $150,000 per seat in liability for commercial operators. Insurance providers told the Daily News that rates are going up everywhere and there is nothing unfair or excessive about the rates in Alaska. Despite improvements over the last 10 years, the accident rate is still higher there than in other states. And when an aircraft is damaged, the costs of recovery and repair in remote areas can be high.