Check, Please: What Charley Means For Insurance...

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Insurers Prepare For Writer's Cramp...

For a group of folks that is about to write checks worth millions of dollars, aviation insurance underwriters we've spoken with are actually showing some optimism as the figures come in from Hurricane Charley's Florida rampage. "It's beginning to look like it's not as bad as we thought," said Avemco spokesman Jim Lauerman. "I think it will be the worst [damage total] since [Hurricane] Andrew [in 1992] but it won't match Andrew. It's certainly not an insignificant event." Out of almost 700 airplanes in the path of the storm that were covered by Avemco, so far there have been claims filed on fewer than 50. Rick Mallard, of Falcon Insurance, EAA's insurance carrier, said claims against his firm could run into the hundreds. Mallard and his staff witnessed the storm firsthand from their Florida headquarters in Lakeland. Mallard said he and his staff aren't too busy with the cold, hard facts to see the emotional toll the storm has taken on aircraft owners. "You have a lot of people who have put years into restoring or building these aircraft and all it takes is a few seconds and they're gone," he said. "There have been a lot of losses."