Aviation Insurance:

Issues Related to the Reauthorization of FAA's Aviation Insurance Program

T-RCED-97-115: Published: May 1, 1997. Publicly Released: May 1, 1997.

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John H. Anderson, Jr
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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO discussed the reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) Aviation Insurance Program, focusing on changes made to the program since GAO last reported on it in 1994.

GAO noted that: (1) in its 1994 report, GAO found that the program did not have sufficient funds available to pay potential insurance claims in the unlikely event of a catastrophic loss; (2) progress has been made in addressing this matter; specifically, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1997 made funds available to indemnify the program for losses incurred under Department of Defense (DOD)-sponsored flights, which account for the majority of flights insured; (3) while GAO's major concern has been addressed, two other concerns that it raised in the 1994 report remain unresolved; (4) gaps remain in the program's ability to pay claims for non-DOD flights; (5) although these flights account for a relatively small percentage of the flights that have been insured by the program, a single major loss could liquidate the program's available funds and leave a substantial portion of the claim unpaid; (6) FAA would need to seek supplemental funding to pay the claim, but the delay could cause financial hardship for the affected airline; and (7) GAO believes that some uncertainty about the program continues to be caused by ambiguity in the statutory language and FAA's current implementing regulations about whether the President must make a determination that a flight is in the foreign policy interests of the United States before issuing insurance.

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