Given that previous aviation first are not known to be insured, never mind the over 80 corporate backers, is the Solar Impulse plane the most insured aviation pioneer?
By: Ringo Bones
As the aviation first du jour, the Solar Impulse – slated to be the first solar powered aircraft to successfully fly around the world – is not shy to tell the whole world that it is insured by Swiss Re during their lengthy adverts in the History Channel and the Discovery Channel. While the piloting skills and design expertise of Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg seem to make the need of any form of insurance policy kind of “redundant”. While the Solar Impulse has over 80 companies backing it like Deutsche Bank, the Belgian chemical company Solvay S.A. and the Swiss watchmaker Omega just to name a few, it’s quite a contrast in comparison to the Wright Brothers first flight where they virtually got none and so too does Charles Lindberg’s solo Trans-Atlantic flight.
Swiss Re Corporate Solutions providing hull insurance, aircraft liability and crew personal accident coverage for the Solar Impulse could be seen as a first for a current aviation first for a solar powered plane given that the Rutan Model 76 Voyager – which successfully flew around the world near the end of 1986 – seems to be devoid of insurance coverage that we know of. Probably the only “interesting” sponsor of the Rutan Model 76 Voyager is the Don King Productions logo on the starboard side of the plane.
The terms of hull insurance vary according to the risk of the classification covered. The hull insurance policy may cover a single vessel or a fleet risk. Fleet insurance may cover a group of vessels under common ownership or common operation. The determination of the premium charge for a single vessel is simple as it is not difficult to rate an individual ship. However, the rating problem may be difficult when a fleet contains both old and new vessels and a single rate is required. In every marine insurance policy there are three implied warranties. These are: 1) The vessel must be seaworthy, that is, all parts and equipment of the vessel must be in proper condition for a sea voyage, sufficient supplies and provisions must be onboard and there must be an efficient and sufficient crew; 2) the venture must be legal; 3) the vessel will follow its stated route without undue delays; that is, there will be no deviation.