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Joined: 10 Feb 2007
Posts: 115
Location: AZ

PostPosted: Wed Mar 08, 2017 10:38 am    Post subject: TIPS Reply with quote

As I promised earlier I am enclosing tips for dealing with the insurance company and other suppliers when involved in an insurance claim.

Having recently gone through a claim with all the bells and whistles; I am told that the $25k claim is “small potatoes” to the aircraft insurance business. Anyway I will relate a sanitized version of lessons learned and Dos/Don’ts.

(1) The insurance adjustor is not your friend; he works for himself and the insurance company. Make certain he has the correct email address; my adjustor did not reply to my email but instead used a wrong address several times and his response went astray and he apparently did not check his rejected email for bad addresses. Also any teardown quote less than $10000 (plus damages) is, in my opinion, a “low ball” which contains the unspoken proviso to make the profit on the aircraft owner.

(2) Do not allow the adjustor to pick the engine shop; be aware that engine shops will “low ball” the quote and try and make the profit on the owner after the engine is disassembled at their shop. The shop quotes usually meet the minimum of the FAA protocol. Talk to local IAs about your selected shop before letting anyone take your engine. If at all possible send your engine to Lycoming or some other major engine shop with a good reputation.

(3) Be aware that there are engine shops “out there” that provide finders fees to other individuals including IAs.

(4) Do not “help” the insurance company minimize the loss; they do not appreciate it. You will find yourself in the middle of the raptor feeding frenzy of vendors.

(5) What ever engine shop you use, give them written instructions to notify you in writing of all changes that may be charged to you before they do the work; and then authorize all (if any) changes (work orders) in writing. Insist on good digital photographs or go and see; it you are not qualified, take an IA or A&P with you. Be advised that if insurance is involved, the incremental amount (total invoice minus insurance reimbursement) may not be an economic small claims action.

(6) Recognize that you must pay their entire invoice to get your engine returned. If the insurance company pays any part of the claim, up front they have negotiating leverage to minimize your claim. If insurance pays initially, the repair will take longer.

(7) Be present for the entire R&R and make notes or do it yourself; after all you know the firewall forward better than any newbie assigned to remove and replace your engine. Most quotes for this are a best effort basis and about 25-30 hours; that is 10 hours for removal and 15-20 hours for replacement. Quotes are very general. You might want to be specific; example: engine run and logbook entry required if you are not repairman or A&P.

(Cool Be advised that R&R vendors look for “extra work”. Extra work occurs when they perform an extra task not considered (vendor opinion) in the original estimate. Two examples: if the engine departed your hangar with the starting magneto on the left side and the standard magneto on the right and the engine shop returns the engine with switched magnetos, this could cause extra work. On the other hand if the vendor removes the prop and leaves the fore/aft spinner bulkheads in place on a damaged prop. To fit a new spinner you may need to remove the old bulkheads to check for airworthy (straight/not bent) parts. The vendor may try calling extra work when the new prop is to be installed because they did not remove those parts; this is not valid extra work. If you are not an A&P or have a repairman certificate for the given aircraft, you may need a signoff from the operator. Be advised that even vendor screw ups are billed; for example if they leave a loose oil line connection and the aircraft and engine is drenched in oil at first start, they still get paid for that and the clean up.

(9) Be aware of the “betterment” phenomena. Insurance companies allegedly try to restore you to the moment before the incident/accident. If, for example, they are required by damage protocols to do certain procedures or parts replacement, they will try and charge for the “betterment”. This is true even if you have a $0 deductible policy.

Be Patient. Typical engine teardown/rebuild turnaround is 6-8 weeks; insurance settlement about 8 weeks after aircraft flies.

This process reminds me of doing business in the third world (Middle East 1979-1995).

“You always learn more than you ever wanted to know”


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