Horizon Aircraft: Most eVTOLs will ‘fail to find affordable insurance’
Electric taxi manufacturer Horizon Aircraft says most eVTOL aircraft seeking to become commercially operational will fail to secure insurance at an affordable price. This is because they will be unable to meet the requirements of insurers, which include providing enough data for their underwriters to assess the risks.
The company warns it will be difficult for eVTOL manufacturers and operators to secure insurance because there is “currently a general lack of competition in the aviation insurance market”.
Insurers are also shifting towards increasing traditional underwriting of pilots and risks. For example, flexible pilot warranties are being replaced by annual make and model specific pilot training requirements and pilot age is becoming an increasingly hot topic for underwriters.
The insurance sector’s process of developing policies for air taxis will be dramatically different to its approach to smaller unmanned aircraft systems, said Horizon. Passengers onboard means the potential liability or injury capable is different.
Zoe Layden, chief business officer, International and New Markets, Falcon MGA, said drones were deemed potentially uninsurable at one stage, but that the aviation insurance market is known for innovation in new arenas of development such as space.
“The aviation insurance market has suffered a serious supply and demand crisis in the past few years. I can’t say in what exact form it may happen, but I do think that aviation advances such as eVTOLs will be supported by insurers – just maybe not exactly in a template that brokers might expect,” Layden told Revolution.Aero.
Brandon Robinson, CEO and co-founder of Horizon said: “Insurance coverage for eVTOLs will be a new product with unique risk exposures that will need to be assessed by insurers. This will require huge amounts of data for them to review, covering a wide range of issues such as safety, operational cost, vehicle performance and reliability, to the level of pilot training required.
“When we are ready, we are confident of securing insurance cover for our Cavorite X5 because it Is fundamentally a normal aircraft for around 98% of its mission, but which also has an additional layer of safety built into it. If the pilot goes too slow, for example, automated systems will provide a warning and then enter vertical mode with the patented wings opening to reveal an array of fans to provide sufficient lift.
In February 2021, eVTOL vehicle and drone maker Astro Aerospace entered a binding agreement to acquire Horizon Aircraft Inc. The transaction is expected to close on or before the beginning of the second quarter.