Business Q & A

5 questions with Tim Bonnell Jr.

Aviation insurance broker Tim Bonnell Jr. is also an instrument-rated private pilot who earned his license in 2000.
Aviation insurance broker Tim Bonnell Jr. is also an instrument-rated private pilot who earned his license in 2000. The Wichita Eagle

Tim Bonnell Jr. graduated from Kansas State University with a degree in vocal performance.

But growing up as the son of the owner of a Wichita-based aviation insurance firm, Bonnell turned to the family business for his career.

Bonnell, an insurance broker affiliated with Oregon-based Regal Aviation Insurance, has published his first book, “Aircraft Insurance Fundamentals: A Concise Guide for Aircraft Owners and Operators.” It is available as an e-book and in paperback on Amazon.com.

“I always enjoyed writing and again, finding ways to bring value to aircraft operators,” Bonnell said. “It’s something I wanted to do and felt compelled to do it.”

Bonnell has been in the aviation insurance business for 15 years. He’s an instrument-rated private pilot with 425 hours in the cockpit.

He said his current client list covers “all types of aircraft owners from (Piper) J-3 Cub through Gulfstream jets, turbine aircraft, ag aircraft, flight schools, charter turbine operations and airports and aviation businesses.”

Q. Why did you write the book?

A. One of my core principles is that you need to be creating value in your industry and with your customers. More and more people want to understand what they are buying. This is just a tool to help aircraft owners and operators to have a greater understanding of what they are buying, which is often one of their top three expenses besides maintenance and fuel.

Q. What does an aviation insurance broker do?

A. We manage the customer relationship and find them the best carrier with the best terms to meet their insurance exposures.

Q. How has the aviation insurance business changed?

A. In 2005, we had about eight aviation (insurance) carriers. Today we have more than 16.

Q. It would seem there should be more than that. Why aren’t there?

A. Most of the standard insurance companies don’t want to mess with aviation due to the specific nature and high values and liability limits involved.

Q. What’s next for you?

A. The current plan is to write a couple more books, one that will cover aviation business insurance and the other one on agricultural aviation.

Jerry Siebenmark: 316-268-6576, @jsiebenmark

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