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Aviation

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Crowell & Moring’s Insurance and Reinsurance Group handles a wide range of matters in the aviation and space arena. From litigating disputes over misrepresentation in procurement of coverage to client counseling on policy coverage terms and scope, we advise insurers on underwriting and claim-handling matters under aviation policies. We also are often called upon to handle the defense of significant claims under aviation coverage programs, from defective product allegations to serious personal injury claims arising from aviation accidents.

Our team combines the disciplines of insurance, corporate, regulatory, dispute resolution, and competition laws to provide our clients with a comprehensive approach to their needs. In addition to our aviation coverage, counseling, and defense work, drawing on the experience of our regulatory and aviation colleagues, our insurance attorneys also have assisted insurers in launching their own drone operations and securing permission for insurers’ commercial use of drones in claim-handling and catastrophic response activities.

Our aviation & space insurance practice advises insurers and reinsurers on coverage, defends aviation companies against third-party claims, assists brokers with bespoke aviation and space covers, and serves as monitoring counsel on losses that are likely to generate large or complex claims.

Representative Engagements

Aviation coverage counseling, litigation and ADR efforts:

  • Trial counsel for alleged misrepresentation in procurement claim, resulting in a rescission action, as well as dispute over various aviation policy terms, conditions, and exclusions.
  • Advising insurers and reinsurers on coverage issues such as Search and Rescue under Aviation Hull and Liability All Risks insurance (MH 370), hull war coverage (MH17), disputed crew Personal Accident coverage, coverage for terrorism under variations of AVN 52, and WTC aviation exposures.
  • Counseling insurers on product liability coverage issues such as those arising from component failure allegedly caused by design fault, faulty maintenance, and/or an inherent defect in aircraft equipment; also represent insurers with respect to losses of aircraft and for a claim arising from the conversion of aircraft to unapproved use.
  • Advising on Hanger Keepers’ liability in the context of the roof collapse on a large business jet facility at Dulles Airport, Virginia.
  • Drafting policies of insurance for pre-launch, launch plus one year, and in-orbit satellite constellations which involved a bespoke definition of a constructive total loss.

Defense of aviation sector clients and their insurers and reinsurers:

  • Led investigation of compliance and design issues with respect to regulatory, safety, certification, and exposure issues arising from a product defect; advised on testing, certification, and replacement of an allegedly faulty component, worked with FAA and EASA to develop airworthiness directives; defended commercial disputes with policyholder’s customers.
  • Represented a repair station in defense of claim arising from an accident allegedly caused by sudden in-flight engine stoppage; defended a fixed-base operator against claims arising from ground handling and maintenance of jet aircraft.
  • Handled international arbitration for airline in dispute with design and manufacturing firm concerning product certification, conformity, and installation issues with respect to subject parts; also represented operator in international litigation with repair station over commercial issues.
  • Serve as national coordinating counsel for a major liability insurer, a commercial operator and a helicopter operator in connection with personal injury lawsuits arising from fatal aviation accidents.

Unmanned aircraft system (UAS or drone) matters, including operational and coverage issues:

  • Provide legal and regulatory counseling on UAS compliance issues.
  • Meet with government representatives responsible for UAS policy to discuss policy considerations for clients operating and insuring drones.
  • Advise on use of UAS for insurance operations, such as roof inspections and catastrophe response.