49 USC 44302 - General authority

(a) Insurance and Reinsurance.— 

(1) Subject to subsection (c) of this section and section 44305 (a) of this title, the Secretary of Transportation may provide insurance and reinsurance against loss or damage arising out of any risk from the operation of an American aircraft or foreign-flag aircraft.
(2) An aircraft may be insured or reinsured for not more than its reasonable value as determined by the Secretary in accordance with reasonable business practices in the commercial aviation insurance industry. Insurance or reinsurance may be provided only when the Secretary decides that the insurance cannot be obtained on reasonable terms from an insurance carrier.
(b) Reimbursement of Insurance Cost Increases.— 

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(1) In general.— 
The Secretary may reimburse an air carrier for the increase in the cost of insurance, with respect to a premium for coverage ending before October 1, 2002, against loss or damage arising out of any risk from the operation of an American aircraft over the insurance premium that was in effect for a comparable operation during the period beginning September 4, 2001, and ending September 10, 2001, as the Secretary may determine. Such reimbursement is subject to subsections (a)(2), (c), and (d) of this section and to section 44303.
(2) Payment from revolving fund.— 
A reimbursement under this subsection shall be paid from the revolving fund established by section 44307.
(3) Further conditions.— 
The Secretary may impose such further conditions on insurance for which the increase in premium is subject to reimbursement under this subsection as the Secretary may deem appropriate in the interest of air commerce.
(4) Termination of authority.— 
The authority to reimburse air carriers under this subsection shall expire 180 days after the date of enactment of this paragraph.
(c) Presidential Approval.— 
The Secretary may provide insurance or reinsurance under subsection (a) of this section, or reimburse an air carrier under subsection (b) of this section, only with the approval of the President. The President may approve the insurance or reinsurance or the reimbursement only after deciding that the continued operation of the American aircraft or foreign-flag aircraft to be insured or reinsured is necessary in the interest of air commerce or national security or to carry out the foreign policy of the United States Government.
(d) Consultation.— 
The President may require the Secretary to consult with interested departments, agencies, and instrumentalities of the Government before providing insurance or reinsurance or reimbursing an air carrier under this chapter.
(e) Additional Insurance.— 
With the approval of the Secretary, a person having an insurable interest in an aircraft may insure with other underwriters in an amount that is more than the amount insured with the Secretary. However, the Secretary may not benefit from the additional insurance. This subsection does not prevent the Secretary from making contracts of coinsurance.
(f) Extension of Policies.— 

(1) In general.— 
The Secretary shall extend through August 31, 2008, and may extend through December 31, 2008, the termination date of any insurance policy that the Department of Transportation issued to an air carrier under subsection (a) and that is in effect on the date of enactment of this subsection on no less favorable terms to the air carrier than existed on June 19, 2002; except that the Secretary shall amend the insurance policy, subject to such terms and conditions as the Secretary may prescribe, to add coverage for losses or injuries to aircraft hulls, passengers, and crew at the limits carried by air carriers for such losses and injuries as of such date of enactment and at an additional premium comparable to the premium charged for third-party casualty coverage under such policy.
(2) Special rules.— 
Notwithstanding paragraph (1)

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(A) in no event shall the total premium paid by the air carrier for the policy, as amended, be more than twice the premium that the air carrier was paying to the Department of Transportation for its third party policy as of June 19, 2002; and
(B) the coverage in such policy shall begin with the first dollar of any covered loss that is incurred.
(g) Aircraft Manufacturers.— 

(1) In general.— 
The Secretary may provide to an aircraft manufacturer insurance for loss or damage resulting from operation of an aircraft by an air carrier and involving war or terrorism.
(2) Amount.— 
Insurance provided by the Secretary under this subsection shall be for loss or damage in excess of the greater of the amount of available primary insurance or $50,000,000.
(3) Terms and conditions.— 
Insurance provided by the Secretary under this subsection shall be subject to the terms and conditions set forth in this chapter and such other terms and conditions as the Secretary may prescribe.