Through their charter status with AMA, clubs are provided up to $2,500,000 of liability insurance for injury or property damage claims. The coverage is not limited to an accident caused by flying models. A club can also be sued for nonflying accidents that might occur at its flying field, meeting site, or a club event. Such accidents might be caused by a club member, spectator, or someone else while acting on behalf of the club, and could arise from conditions of the premises or other nonflying activities.
Club members set up a sound system for an event, and fail to correctly secure one of the speaker boxes. The speaker falls and subsequently damages a spectator’s vehicle. The liability policy would respond to a claim made against the club.
Club officers as outlined in AMA’s charter club program (president, vice president, secretary, treasurer, and safety coordinator) are afforded primary liability coverage (for accidents caused by others) as it relates to their duties as officers. The insurance industry calls this vicarious liability. Note: This coverage is not just limited to club officers, but also extends to AMA members who act at the direction of, and within the scope of their duties, for AMA, such as contest directors, event managers, AVPs, large model airplane inspectors, etc.
John Doe, one of your club members and a rather inexperienced pilot, crashes his airplane and causes a severe injury to a spectator, John Q. Public. Mr. Public sues Mr. Doe, the club, and club officers. AMA’s current liability policy would respond on behalf of Mr. Doe (in an excess capacity) and on behalf of the club and its officers (in a primary capacity).
There are certain situations that are not covered by AMA’s liability insurance, such as claims or suits resulting from officers’ decisions regarding club policy, discrimination, site use, and environmental issues. If this is of concern, a club might wish to consider contacting a local insurance agent and looking into what is most often referred to as “D&O” and/or Environmental insurance.
Shortly before the accident, club member Bob purchased a home because it was right down the road from the flying site. Because of the accident, and the publicity that the lawsuit created, the flying site property owner decides to terminate the club’s lease and turns it into his personal junkyard. Bob is now upset because a) he purchased his new home for the location and b) the property value is decreasing thanks to the rusting piles of metal next door. Bob faults the club officers for the lease termination. They knew John Doe was inexperienced and should have not allowed him to solo. Bob feels the officers mismanaged the club and sues them. This is a D&O situation, which AMA would not cover.
AMA does not provide insurance coverage for club-owned property, such as: mowers, storage sheds, etc.