Did you know that airline and commercial pilots have very specific income replacement needs? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median income for an airline and commercial pilot is roughly $115,000. The job market is expected to add another 7,000 over the next several years. The private pilot market is also booming as executives increasingly employ private or leased jets. Interested? You should be. Pilots represent a lucrative individual and multi-life opportunity for disability insurance sales.
In addition to the benefits of a basic individual disability coverage, professional pilots have a special need due to the annual licensing requirements for commercial pilots. Commercial pilots working for a scheduled airline carrier to transport passengers or freight are subject to the strictest, Class 1, medical certificate. The medical certificate is valid for just 12 months for pilots under age 40. At 40 and older, the certificate must be renewed every six months. Other types of commercial pilots, those working as charter pilots, corporate pilots, crop dusters, tour operators, traffic reporters, are required to have a Class 2 medical certificate, renewal annually, regardless of age. Medical conditions like hypertension and diabetes may result in loss of license. Blood pressure readings may not exceed 155 systolic and 95 diastolic. A patient recovering from a heart attack might expect to return to work in another line of work. Not so for a pilot; a heart attack may mean loss or suspension of their license.
Of course, pilots are just as likely to suffer a disability as the general population. Additionally, a pilot carries the risk of losing the license to fly due to a medical condition that may not qualify as a disability. Under the terms of a typical disability insurance, a pilot who is physically able to fly, may not fly if the required medical certificate is not issued.
Coverage is affordable and underwriting is easy because of the strict requirements to earn a medical certificate. Plans offer benefits periods of one year to five years, and a wide range of elimination periods. Available monthly benefit amounts range from $500 to $25,000. A lump sum benefit may be available if the pilot is permanently grounded.