New regulations adopted by the Alaska Division of Insurance mandate that as of November 26, 2015, all air ambulances that have operated in Alaska for less than two years need to obtain a $100,000 surety bond to become registered with the Director of Insurance.
Air Ambulances in Alaska
Before the introduction of aircraft, patients in Alaska requiring relocation in order to receive treatment relied upon sled dogs or, if they happened to be near a port, boats. However, in 1920 several planes made the flight from New York to Alaska, demonstrating that air travel was a potentially viable option— although the first medical transport did not happen until the 1960s. By the early 1970s, Alaska’s air ambulances began to resemble what exist today, and in 1998 the Aviation Medical Assistance Act was passed standardizing medical equipment and training requirements for air ambulances. As of 2004, Alaska had nine certified medevac services, 11 certified critical care air ambulance services and one specialty care service that account for more air medical escorts than any other state with an estimated 4,000 flights annually.
Initial Registration and Surety Bond Requirement
The amendments to Title 3 of the Alaska Administrative Code affect all new air ambulance service providers in that they establish specific registration requirements relating to the registration term, necessary information, and receipt of a surety bond.
In order to register, air ambulance service providers must submit an application with all of the information listed in the Provider Registration section of 3 AAC 31.610.
Initial air ambulance providers are registered on a biennial basis and the registration is effective for the remainder of the calendar year they are approved and the first six months of the following year ending on June 30. However, if the registration is approved on or after April 1 and before January 1, the registration period lasts for the remainder of the calendar year, plus the following 18 months.
Before approving a new provider’s registration, the director must receive a $100,000 surety bond guaranteeing the provider’s performance under 3 AAC 31.640 and issued by a corporate surety authorized in under Title 21.63 of the Alaska Statutes. Once the provider can prove to the Director that they have operated in Alaska for two years, the bond requirement will be waived. If the provider fails to comply with the terms established by the bond, then a claim may be filed up to the full amount of the bond. Upon settlement of the claim, the surety will look to the provider for reimbursement of all money paid in the settlement.
Suspension or Revocation of Registration
The suspension or revocation of a registration may be enacted by the Director of Insurance if the provider is found to have committed any of the following:
- failure to meet registration requirements under 3 AAC 31.610 and 31.620
- failure to comply with membership agreements issued to residents of Alaska
- in a condition or using methods or practices in the conduct of its business that render further transaction of insurance hazardous to air ambulance service members or the public
- failure to provide at least 60 days’ notice by certified mail to the Director and obtaining the Director’s written authorization before ceasing operations
In the event that a license is suspended or revoked by the Director, providers may not write new or renewal membership agreements in Alaska. However, if the license is only suspended, then providers are still responsible for filing renewal registration applications and paying the renewal fee.
Any additional information relating to becoming a registered air ambulance service provider may be found by visiting the Alaska Division of Insurance website or calling their toll free hotline at 1 (800) 467-8725. To comply with these new regulations and begin the bonding process, call SuretyBonds.com at 1 (800) 308-4358 or request a quote online now.