Open letter ISP/AT



Having worked with insurers, I question this claim. My point is it would be helpful to know what to address before you address it.

Rocketry is already safer than about anything else and anything further done will be along the lines of the NFPA regulations. Rules without real purpose or justification.
What is needed is probably a PR campaign to educate existing regulators on the actual pattern of safety and wilingness on the part of rocketeers to be good citizens. This way whatever irrational fears they have that lead to their draconian moves can be allayed and those moves can be ceased willingly.
I have recently learned that many of the "claims" of misdeeds by various people, even though none of those claims have been adjudicated, are being used as a basis to claim further regulation is needed. Some of those claims are rmr posts! We all know how unreliable rmr posts are, especially from anonymous posters, but the authorities do not. They are perfectly willing to take it all as assumed fact and act accordingly. And they do.
So all those reports over the years by TRA and competitors against a variety of industry participants have come back to bite us.
Just how important is an Aerotech (or RCS) and TRA/NAR monopoly over motor access anyway?
I get the impression new players to the CONSUMER motor business will NOT be allowed unless they: 1. Do not post on the internet.
2. Get ATF permits for exempt materials and then sell ONLY to other folks who have done the same (the anthesis of a consumer).
3. Further cowtow to whatever arbitrary rules TRA or NAR make up at the time, even if in direct conflict with NFPA codes they authored and the states adopted.
All to serve a declining customer base of 3000 people?
What this industry needs is a real advocate with a belief in freedom and faith in consumers and a willingness to use whatever legal permissions we already have to grow the industry and raise funds to widen the legal window a small amount.

--
Jerry Irvine, Box 1242, Claremont, California 91711 USA
Opinion, the whole thing. <mail to: snipped-for-privacy@gte.net>
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Jerry Irvine wrote:

POINT!
POINT!
this should be in the FAQ
- iz
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David Erbas-White wrote:

is there an echo in here?
- iz ;)
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<< I'm not REMOTELY in favor of mandating any kind of level 0 type of certification, but it would be a very positive thing to be able to show to the insurers if a program were in effect to try and get 'more safety' into the minds of those who typically CAUSE problems with model rockets >>
If it isn't mandated, it's useless from an insurance standpoint. The only reason the insurers care about high power certs is because it's mandated.
This is one of the times when Jerry is actually right.
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On 29 Jan 2004 20:54:55 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com (RayDunakin) wrote:

By what authority do you speak for the insurance industry?

Define "mandated" in this context. Basicaly you are touching on the certification requirements that must be negotiated with insurance industry to ease their FUD enough to reduce manufacturers insurance premiuns for motors consumed by certified users.
Alan
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<< By what authority do you speak for the insurance industry? >>
None whatsoever, nor did I claim to be. But it stands to reason that flyer certs would only have a positive effect on insurance rates if they could provably reduce risks, and the only way that would happen is if there was some mechanism in place to make certs mandatory.
Look at it this way: Why would flyer certs reduce the risk of liability to manufacturers? Because it means that only those who have proven their competence would be using those motors. But if the certs aren't mandated, then anyone could be using them and so you're no better off than you were without them.
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com (RayDunakin) wrote:

You are all delusional. The ONLY thing the insurer looks at is the fact the products are in the "hobby" catagory. They do not care about certs, safety codes or anything you care about. They care about accident rates and only those available in internal insurance association records.
Look at it this way.
The Aerotech accident was "hobby product related" and resulted in one death, several injuries, over $6m in damages (perhaps 12) and was underinsured (insufficient premiums collected by the agent).
That is a HUGE negative for any new company coming along for insurance. FAR worse than any of the nitpicky crap people have been discussing here on rmr.
Certifications, consumer or product are IRRELEVENT to insurance companies.
Risk and premiums are ALL they care about.
--
Jerry Irvine, Box 1242, Claremont, California 91711 USA
Opinion, the whole thing. <mail to: snipped-for-privacy@gte.net>
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(RayDunakin) writes:

It
you
Bob, tests don't reduce insurance cost because of safety.
Certs and tests reduce insurance cost because you reduce the user pool.
Reduced user pool, lower costs. larger user pool, larger risk. larger risk, more cost for insurance.
I"ve been observing at arms length in the risk and casualty underwriting business since I was sentient.
Art
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ArtU wrote:

I like that, Art! "... since I was sentient"
- iz :)
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Some time last year ... :-)
    Bob Kaplow    NAR # 18L    TRA # "Impeach the TRA BoD"         >>> To reply, remove the TRABoD! <<< Kaplow Klips & Baffle:    http://nira-rocketry.org/LeadingEdge/Phantom4000.pdf www.encompasserve.org/~kaplow_r/ www.nira-rocketry.org www.nar.org
Save Model Rocketry from the HSA! http://www.space-rockets.com/congress.html
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Actually a smaller user pool is what drives up the cost. Rockets are small business. No one really knows the accurate cost per capita for rocket insurance. Now if there were 200 million rocketeers, like there are drivers, there would be better data. And that would reduce the error bounds and lower the cost.
Agreed tests don't lower insurance cost. Better trained fliers who know and understand the rules and flight principles reduce risk and thus reduce insurance costs. And more importantly, make our hobby safer.
    Bob Kaplow    NAR # 18L    TRA # "Impeach the TRA BoD"         >>> To reply, remove the TRABoD! <<< Kaplow Klips & Baffle:    http://nira-rocketry.org/LeadingEdge/Phantom4000.pdf www.encompasserve.org/~kaplow_r/ www.nira-rocketry.org www.nar.org
Save Model Rocketry from the HSA! http://www.space-rockets.com/congress.html
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wrote:

Why is that a bad thing?

I don't understand your 97% market reduction. In my earlier message I suggested that the NAR use L0 and L00 certification as an outreach program, without restricting it to the NAR membership. However, only the safest and most skilled rocketeers would be certified, perhaps only 5,000 or so. If all consumers were certified, the insurance companies would be conceding too much money for no real reduction in risk. What certification would do is lower the participation cost of the safest, best, and most active rocketeers enabling them to remain active in the sport longer, thus increasing the total number of participants (consumers).

Ask them. Estes does not cater to the certifiable group of rocketeers, or even to NAR/TRA members. They make most of their money selling RTF and starter kits through Walmart and toy stores, to rocketeers who fly for one summer or less. The high cost of manufacturers liability insurance is a barrier to entry. Why would Estes want to make it easier for potential competitors to get established? CTI has stated that they have developed model rocket motors but will not market them due the outrageous cost of liability insurance. Apogee, AFAIK, went without liability insurance, but reduced their risk by marketing to NAR competitors, a highly skilled and certifiable market niche. The biggest benefit would be more model rocket motor companies, which is not In Estes interest. The secondary benefit is greater user participation and reduced cost to certified consumers.

The vendors (or potential vendors and manufacturers) themselves would. This an industry wide insurance industry problem. The best way to get the insurance companies to reduce premiums for product consumed by safe certified rocketeers is to form an industry wide trade association to negotiate with the insurance industry. They might even choose the NAR to negotiate for them. The NAR is the obvious organization to certify MR users, and the user certification requirements will have to be set (or negotiated) with the insurance industry.

There is NO downside to the idea. The problem is the difficulty in persuading the insurance industry, so it will probably never fly.

What the &^%! you talkin about! ATF permits are not required, nor proposed for model rocket motors. L0 and L00 certification is entirely voluntary and not codified in any law or code. It would have no effect on uncertified users, except that there might be more manufacturers.

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Consumer certification is used as an access limiter right now. Are you saying your proposal would not somehow morph that direction within a couple of years?
I doubt it.
What we need is to eliminate any access restrictions for consumer products even if we have to define consumer to be a K or L limit.

I think it would lower the available pool of qualified consumers (topay premiums) and reduce the insurance pool and consentrate the risk.
Right now insurance premiums are paid through product cost. You can get a pack of D's for ten bucks. Any deviation from the current system will result in price INCREASES due to a new compliance regime.

USR got product liability insurance for about $5000. That is not as big a barrier to entry as TRA/NAR/their dealers asking all consumers to get ATF permits to buy motors.

You see CTI not wanting to enter the narrow margin model rocket business as insurance driven. It is not. It is manufacturing driven. He has the equipment to make a million motors a month if he wants to. But there is no market for that in the FGH range.

Been there, done that.

I simply do not see a connection between certifying users and insurance costs.
--
Jerry Irvine, Box 1242, Claremont, California 91711 USA
Opinion, the whole thing. <mail to: snipped-for-privacy@gte.net>
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wrote:

NAR has the NARTREK program already in place. Maybe add a Platinum level (E, F & G) and a discount on dues for those that complete it. Insurance should be cheaper for a skilled rocketeer, right?
Patrick - next someone will want mandatory reporting of all failed flights... ain't insurance fun?!?

--
Patrick Harvey
NAR 81752 L2
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Patrick Harvey wrote:

The real problem is chickenshit hypocrites who will sign liability waivers whereby they agree to act "at their own risk", but then if shit happens they turn around and file suits for "damages" anyway, even if it's not actually the fault of the defendant... there needs to be a law that says that a signed release of liability is an enforceable and contractually binding promise, and that if you give me a release and then try to sue me anyway, not only will the suit be dismissed immediately, but you can be sued for "breach of contract" for violating the promise not to sue.
-dave w
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<< The real problem is chickenshit hypocrites who will sign liability waivers whereby they agree to act "at their own risk", but then if shit happens they turn around and file suits for "damages" anyway, even if it's not actually the fault of the defendant... there needs to be a law that says that a signed release of liability is an enforceable and contractually binding promise, and that if you give me a release and then try to sue me anyway, not only will the suit be dismissed immediately, but you can be sued for "breach of contract" for violating the promise not to sue. >>
Amen!
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On Thu, 29 Jan 2004 20:25:34 -0800, Patrick Harvey

I was only addressing the high cost of motors due to manufacturers liability insurance costs and insurance industry FUD. The cost of individual dues and/or personal liability insurance is another issue. I personally feel that the NAR incurs much more expense serving the needs of HPR flyers than MR flyers, and that dues should reflect that. Perhaps the recent dues increase should only have been applied to HPR certified flyers. I personally feel that flying HPR poses a greater risk than flying MR, but it depends on the particulars, and both are remarkably safe.
Alan

Nah, but all failed contest flights are reported, and I'd like to see more motor failures reported.
Alan
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If they would deregulate HPR they would cash in HUGE on the growth spurt. First club to do it wins.
Jerry

--
Jerry Irvine, Box 1242, Claremont, California 91711 USA
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Alan Jones wrote:

I think the issue is that the sheer volume needed to make a profit on the smaller motors tends to increase (real? perceived?) risk... if there's a one-in-a-million chance that any given flight will start a million dollar grass fire, would your insurer rather see you sell a million $1 motors or ten thousand $100 motors?
-dave w
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" I think the issue is that the sheer volume needed to make a profit on the smaller motors tends to increase (real? perceived?) risk... if there's a one-in-a-million chance that any given flight will start a million dollar grass fire, would your insurer rather see you sell a million $1 motors or ten thousand $100 motors?"
This makes no logical (or statistical) sense. You are supposing there is a one in a million chance for each flight. Therefore there is identical risk for each flight no matter how large the sample size (number of flights).
In other words the odds of a fire are the same if you launch once or one million times. Each event is unique.
By your reasoning my chances of winning the lottery increase the more often I play.

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