Ninth Circuit Confirms Strict Compliance With Pilot Warranty is Necessary for Coverage


U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

In Trishan Air, Inc. v. Federal Insurance Company, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed that Trishan Air, Inc. was not entitled to coverage for an accident involving its aircraft due to its failure to strictly comply with the Federal Insurance Company policy's pilot warranty. The Ninth Circuit affirmed the decision of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California granting summary judgment to Federal.

When renewing the policy covering its Dassault Falcon 900 B, Trishan had requested that its second-in-command pilots need only meet the training requirements mandated in 14 C.F.R. 61.55. The underwriter for Federal advised this was not possible and instead quoted, and subsequently issued, a policy including a pilot warranty provision requiring all pilots undergo ground and flight training, including motion-based simulator training in the make and model aircraft insured. The policy also contained an exclusion consistent with the pilot warranty. When the Falcon was later involved in an accident, Federal denied coverage because the second-in-command had no formal training in Falcon aircraft and no simulator training.

In its suit contesting the denial of coverage, Trishan argued that it was not required to strictly comply with the pilot warranty and that the warranty was a condition requiring only substantial compliance.

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