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Aviation insurers turn profit in 2011: Willis


Following relatively low losses of aircraft and passenger fatalities in the airline industry in 2011, airline and aviation manufacturing insurers turned a profit for the first time in five years, the aerospace unit of Willis Group Holdings P.L.C. said Monday in a new report.

Total airline insurance premium in 2011 was $1.9 billion against claims of $1.1 billion, the London-based insurance brokerage said in its report, “Willis Aerospace—Aviation Products Market Review.” Reported premiums for aviation insurance manufacturing insurance last year were $657.9 million, according to the report.

There were 30 total losses of Western-built aircraft in 2011, down from 46 in 2010. While passenger levels increased 5% from 2010, there were 184 passenger fatalities last year, compared with 648 in 2010. The five-year average fatality rate per million passengers decreased to below 0.2%, according to the report.

Across all aerospace sectors, premium rates in 2011 decreased 1.8% compared with 2010, according to the report.

The report also notes that given the growth of self-insured retention plans among the aviation industry, better claims records and risk profiles are available for insurers.

“The aviation industry is returning to good health,” said Mark Wilford, chairman of Willis Aerospace, in a statement. “New technologies continue to deliver improved long-term safety records and fleet/passenger numbers are growing.”

Mr. Wilford added, however, that “buyers recently confirmed to us that aviation insurers should be reminded it is the aerospace/manufacturers sector that, by and large, has historically subsidized the overall aviation insurance market through more difficult times across other sectors.”

The report is available here.