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FAA Announces No Enforcement on Medical Certificates Expiring During Crisis – Check Insurance Requirements

The FAA announced Monday that it will take no enforcement action against individuals with 1st, 2nd, or 3rd class medical certificates expiring between March 31, 2020, to June 30, 2020. Although cautioning aviators that this was in no way an extension of a medical certificate by the FAA. Further advising that those with medical certificates expiring between March 31, 2020, and June 30, 2020, to check with their insurance broker and underwriter to ensure that your aircraft and person will remain insured if a situation occurs requiring the need to file a claim.

In a statement released by HAI this week, the association’s CEO Jim Viola cautioned waiting on obtaining medical certificates, stating “I note that the document was signed by Legal, not Flight Standards, it’s also possible that insurance companies may not acknowledge this document as binding.”Issued on March 26, 2020, FAA Docket No. FAA-2020-0312 provides the requirements for and duration of the waiver for medical certificates issued under 14 CFR Part 67.

In posting the new policy, the agency released this summary: “Due to extraordinary circumstances related to the Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) pandemic, until June 30, 2020, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will not take legal enforcement action against any person serving as a required pilot flight crewmember or flight engineer based on noncompliance with medical certificate duration standards when the expiration of the required medical certificate occurs from March 31, 2020, through June 30, 2020.”

Aircraft insurance policies typically state “The coverage afforded hereunder shall not apply unless the aircraft is operated in flight by the following pilots provided that they hold the proper and current medical and pilot certificates with the appropriate ratings and qualifications required under the current FAA regulations which apply to the flight involved.” Accordingly, while a pilot flying with an expired medical certificate may not be subject to an FAA enforcement action, they may indeed be in violation of the pilot warranty on their insurance policy.  As such, obtaining a written confirmation from the underwriter that your insurance coverage will not be voided for an expired medical license between March 31, 2020, to June 30, 2020, should be sought before operating an aircraft.

AssuredPartners Aerospace sent AgAir Update the following letter with further explanation:

Sending you a heads up to not make the mistake that a couple of other organizations have made when reporting of FAA Docket FAA-2020-0312 – Enforcement Policy for Expired Airman Medical Certificates. There has been reporting that the FAA has extended medical certificate duration.  The FAA has not extended medical certificates – they have stated they will not take legal enforcement action against pilots with certificates expiring between 3/31 and 6/30. If your medical expires on 4/15/2020 FAA will not take legal enforcement action against you until after 6/30/2020 (unless extended further), but you still have an expired medical certificate. At issue is a conflict between FAA regulations and insurance policies.  Most all aircraft insurance policies require the pilot of the aircraft to possess a valid FAA medical appropriate for the flight involved.  Failure to possess a valid medical certificate could be grounds for denial of a claim.  Pilots should recognize the difference between FAA regulations and their insurance contracts.




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