Insurance ProgramInsurance binder
For the full insurance policy: Please contact the HPAC Office
HPAC INSURANCE COVERAGE
Our members are pilots, not insurance specialists. Despite access to the exact wording of our insurance policy, pilots often have questions.
Following is a list of the most frequently asked questions with responses, which may serve to help the member pilots in understanding the insurance coverage benefits that come with their HPAC membership.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS and ANSWERS
- I am a member of a foreign flying association such as the U.S. Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association and have insurance coverage with them. Why do I need HPAC coverage as well?
- The simple answer is “for the protection of our flying sites”. First, our HPAC coverage is specifically designed to protect our members but also, to protect the Canadian landowners, who allow us to fly from, or onto their land, from claims brought against them by injured parties. Promises of this protection have been made to these landowners and this coverage is a condition of our having access to many flying sites across Canada. The landowners are only protected if a) the pilot is a current HPAC member and b) if the pilot has signed the specific waiver that is attached to the HPAC membership application. Secondly, HPAC coverage provides certain coverage such as forest fire expense protection, which is a condition by some landowners and government entities (who are stewards of public lands), before they will allow our pilots access to many areas in Canada. Finally, HPAC coverage is generally broader than many foreign policies, and gives each pilot $5 million coverage in personal protection, for property damage or bodily injury that they may cause to others.
- Does this policy cover my medical expenses if I am injured while participating in the sport?
- No. This is not an “accident” policy. You can buy this type of coverage elsewhere. Do check with the insurer that you are considering, to make sure that they cover hang gliding and paragliding activities. This goes for any travel medical insurance you might buy as well.
- This policy covers “third party” damages. What is a third party.
- As with insurance everywhere, the term third party refers to someone other than the insured person. This term comes from the concept that insurance is generally an agreement between two parties, the insured and the insurer. Anyone else is the third party. Third party damages are generally two types a) property damage (for example, you fly into a radio tower and damage it, causing great expense to repair and costing a lot of business loss expenses) or b) personal injury (for example, you fly into a crowd of people at the landing zone and you badly injure a young child. These damages can be very high and could last the lifetime of the injured person).
- I fly at a remote site. The landowners of the launch and the landing field have never discussed insurance and have no special “site certificate” which I understand is available from HPAC. Are they covered if I cause damage and they are joined into a lawsuit?
- Yes. Our policy is designed that landowners are covered as soon as they give permission to an HPAC pilot to use their land. No site certificate is required. However, more and more landowners want to see actual documentation confirming that they are covered by our policy. Site insurance certificates naming specific landowners are available from the HPAC Office using the Site Insurance form. For this coverage to be in effect, and the landowner to be protected, it is key that the pilots using the site are all HPAC members. If a non-HPAC pilot were to cause the injury, this policy will not respond to protect the landowner.
- Why do we even need insurance? I have flown for years without an incident and I am very safe.
- First, insurance coverage allows access to sites all across Canada. Many landowners will not allow flying on or off of their land without protection. If you cause damage somehow, in our current legal system, any lawyer would “join” the landowner in a lawsuit. Our policy protects them. In fact, last year we issued over 50 site certificates to landowners, many with multiple landowners listed. This means that there were a large number of sites that you and your fellow pilots would not have access to without insurance. By joining HPAC and being an insured pilot, you help yourself and you help all of your fellow pilots by being part of the larger insured body. Secondly, you would be very unwise to fly without coverage. The majority of bodily injury claims in the past few years have involved injury to spectators in landing fields or on launch. You never know when someone might come out to watch you land and get in the way. Also, imagine that you get blown into a ski lift, a hydro line or that you damage some microwave tower. The costs of any of these incidents could be huge and without insurance, you could be paying for these for a very long time.
- I have read our policy and I see a “participant exclusion”. I am participating in the sport so does that mean that I have no insurance coverage when I am flying?
- No, that is not what it means. You do have coverage for claims brought against you by any third parties. The participant exclusion is with respect to claims brought against you by other participants in the sport. That means that the insurers are not willing to cover pilots for claims brought against them by other pilots, or other participants in the sport. They are of the opinion that this is a risk that comes with the sport. For example, if you a circling in a thermal and you collide with another pilot, causing serious injury to them, this policy will not respond, because you are both pilots participating in a higher risk sport and you both know the risks of flying. Similarly, tandem passengers are participants in the sport. Therefore, the policy will not protect the pilot if the tandem passenger is injured and they sue the pilot. On the other hand, if the tandem flight causes damages to any third party, the HPAC pilot will be covered for the damages done and the tandem passenger will also be covered, on the assumption that they are students of a certified instructor.
- Are Instructors insured?
- HPAC-Certified Instructors have the same full coverage as HPAC members, $5,000,000 Comprehensive Liability Coverage anywhere in the world. This coverage also extends to Students of the school, while they are receiving instruction.
- My instructor certification has expired but I still want to fly tandems. Am I covered?
- If you are an HPAC pilot, you are still covered for your flying activities but your student (passenger) is not “an insured” under our coverage. This is because they are no longer a student of a Certified Instructor/Tandem Instructor. HPAC may provide a 6 month grace period for an instructor to become re-certified, upon application to the HPAC Office. You should also read the Canadian Air Regulations as you will be in violation of their laws if you are flying tandems that are not for the purpose of instruction, and you may be liable for substantial fines or other punishment.
- I am going on vacation and plan to fly outside of Canada. Does this policy cover me in other countries?
- This policy has world-wide coverage. You do not need to notify HPAC or do anything out of the ordinary. Of course, you must keep your membership in HPAC active. You may find that other countries have their own insurance requirements or local regulation with which you must comply but, if you have an incident in another country, this policy is still in effect to protect you.
- I am a landowner and I allow pilots to fly on my property. What can HPAC provide to me to document that I am an additional named insured on your policy and covered for flying activity?
- We can provide you with a formal Site Certificate, confirming that you are an additional named insured on our policy. There is no charge to you for this. Simply ask any of the pilots who use your site to contact the HPAC Office for the proper Site Insurance Certificate application form. If you wish to look at the policy, you can also view it on this webpage above. Although we understand your interest in obtaining a site certificate, and we are happy to get one to you, you are immediately “an insured” under our policy as soon as you give permission to an HPAC pilot to use your land.
- I am an HPAC member. I fly with a paramotor some of the time. Am I covered under our policy?
- No, sorry. Our policy specifically is restricted to non-motorized foot-launched flight. The only exception is that “hang gliders under tow” are considered to be non-motorized and are therefore covered.
- While solo recreational pilots are required to be HPAC members and to carry HPAC third-party liability insurance, are tandem passengers not required to be HPAC members and therefore do not have access to the HPAC insurance coverage?
- Canadian Air Regulations stipulate that a person may operate a hang glider with one other person on board if the flight is conducted for the purpose of providing dual flight instruction. Tandem passengers must receive such instruction and are considered students. The definition of insured on the HPAC policy includes students while receiving instructions under supervision of a certified instructor at schools in which all instructors are HPAC certified and these tandem student / passengers have access to the HPAC insurance coverage.
- What is the extent of commercial operators’ third-party liability coverage and does such coverage apply to losses incurred by/or injuries sustained by a passenger?
- The insurance does not apply to Personal Injury to or Property Damage of any person while participating in the sport of Hang Gliding or Paragliding. However, if the participant has signed a release waiver and assumption of risk form which releases the Owners and Lessors of land who have granted permission to the insured for the use of the property for Hang Gliding or Paragliding activities then the Participants exclusion will not apply to that Owner or Lessor of land. In order for any coverage to apply the tandem pilot must be an HPAC certified instructor in good standing. If the tandem student / passenger was injured while participating in the activity and brought an action against the tandem pilot it would not be covered by the insurance because of the Participants exclusion in the policy. An action by the tandem student / passenger against the Owner or Lessor of land who had granted permission to the insured for the use of the property for the activity would be covered only if the tandem student / passenger bringing the action had signed a release waiver and assumption of risk form which releases the Owner of Lessor of the land.
- Are the passengers required to sign waivers and should the land owner be added as releasees on that waiver?
- Passengers should sign a release waiver and assumption of risk form and Owners and Lessors of land who have granted permission to the insured for use of the property must be included as releasees.
- If a tandem student/passenger or student under instruction should experience an accident and then takes legal action against the instructor and the landowner: what protection do the instructor/tandem pilot and the landowner have through the HPAC third-party liability policy?
- The insurance does not apply to Personal Injury to or Property Damage of any person while participating in the sport of Hang Gliding or Paragliding. However, if the participant has signed a release waiver and assumption of risk form which releases the Owners and Lessors of land who have granted permission to the insured for use of the property for Hang Gliding or Paragliding activities then the Participants exclusion will not apply to that Owner or Lessor of the land. In the example given in the question in order for any coverage to apply the instructor must be a current member of HPAC in good standing and the tandem student / passenger or student under instruction must be a student receiving instruction from the HPAC certified instructor at a school in which all instructors are HPAC certified. The action against the instructor would not be covered as the Injury to Participants exclusion would apply. The action against the landowner would be covered only if the tandem student / passenger or student under instruction had signed a release waiver and assumption or risk form which releases the Owner or Lessor of the land.