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Written by Ilona Maine
AMA News
As seen in the March 2021 issue of Model Aviation.

It doesn’t seem as though it has been three months since I wrote for the December issue of Model Aviation. But the stern looks and reminder emails that my column was due, told me otherwise. I am a natural procrastinator and need an occasional nudge by my colleagues.

Procrastination leads me to my first subject. Club charter renewal season is in full swing. We started mailing the renewal documents in December. We are receiving your completed renewal documents daily and processing them as quickly as we can.

Have you sent in your club’s renewal yet? Are you a natural procrastinator as I am? Here is your friendly nudge to submit the documentation as soon as possible. Please go over the checklist we provided to ensure you are dotting all of the Is, crossing all of the Ts, and signing on the dotted line. This helps us tremendously and speeds up the process.

You can submit your club charter renewal documents via email at clubs@modelaircraft.org, via fax at (765) 2863303, or via the U.S. Postal Service to AMA Headquarters, Attn: Club Charter Renewal.

Charter renewal is a complex process and includes a variety of aspects. Updating officer positions, renewing the insurance certificate for the flying site property owner, and updating club and flying site details, are only a few. We are working as quickly as we can but entering and updating the data takes time, even when you have submitted perfectly completed documents.

Because new clubs and club officers are always joining the ranks, let me discuss insurance. Through their AMA charter status, clubs are provided with up to $2,500,000 of liability insurance for bodily injury or property damage claims. The coverage is not limited to an accident caused by flying models. A club can be sued for nonflying accidents that might occur at its flying field, meeting site, or a club event. Such accidents could 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.

Example: 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 AMA duties, such as contest directors, event managers, associate vice presidents, etc.

Example: John Doe, a club member and an inexperienced pilot, crashes his airplane and causes a severe injury to a spectator. The spectator 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).

Some situations 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 look into what is often referred to as "D&O" and/or Environmental insurance.

Example: Shortly before the previously mentioned accident, club member Bob purchased a home because it was right down the road from the flying site. Because of the accident and the ensuing publicity, the flying site property owner terminates the club’s lease and turns the site into his personal junkyard. Bob is 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 not have 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.

Here is to a successful 2 021 with (hopefully) lots of events and club gatherings!

ilona maine
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2 comments

How can I find the Dec. 1977 issue of Model Aviation? Thanks!

Hi George. You can find it on this website by clicking on archive/library and searching for the issue. There should be a photo of the cover.

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