Sky’s the Limit: Chris Proudlove’s Journey in Aviation Insurance

Chris Proudlove, a well-regarded figure in aviation insurance and Senior Vice President and Underwriting Executive at Global Aerospace, has a 30-year career that traces the evolution of aviation itself. From his formative years in the bustling London insurance market to his present role at the forefront of emerging technologies, Chris has left a meaningful mark on the aviation insurance sector. Through his steadfast dedication to understanding and mitigating risks and being fueled by a strong drive for innovation, he earns his place among the “Top 10 Most Influential People in Insurance, 2024,” shaping the future of this ever-evolving industry.

Taking time out of his busy schedule, Chris interacts with us in a candid interview covering the evolution of his career in aviation insurance. Read on to inculcate his values and experience, which continue to drive his determination to positively impact the aviation industry.


Humble Beginnings and a Foundation Built on Experience

Chris’s career took flight in 1990 when he joined the London insurance market as a broker for Alexander Howden, specializing in Middle Eastern aviation risks. This early exposure to complex risks laid a solid foundation for his understanding of the intricate dynamics of the aviation insurance landscape. As he reminisces, “The London market has always been a center of global insurance and reinsurance, and being exposed to such a wide variety of complex risk types gave me a strong foundation for a career in the industry.”  He witnessed firsthand the fast-paced environment of face-to-face trading, a crucible that honed his negotiation skills and ability to navigate complex deals in his subsequent roles.

Seizing an opportunity for growth, Chris transitioned to underwriting with German insurer Gerling. Here, he played a pivotal role in developing a new portfolio for the general aviation business. This period coincided with abundant reinsurance capacity, allowing Chris to build a strong business book and master the art of maximizing profitability through strategic reinsurance deals.

The early 2000s saw a significant shift in the industry following the events of 9/11. With many businesses exiting the aviation sector, Chris strategically navigated his career path, landing at Canopius Syndicate in Lloyd’s. This move further solidified his expertise and prepared him for the exciting prospects that awaited him at Global Aerospace.

Taking the Leap: A Match Made in Aviation Insurance

In 2005, Chris landed at Global Aerospace, an industry-leading aviation insurance provider with an impressive legacy.  He was drawn to the Company’s passion for aviation and the opportunity to work with and for truly remarkable aviation professionals and organizations.

At Global, there was a focus on building a future leadership team for the London-based General Aviation insurance division. This division covers risks associated with private planes, corporate jets, smaller passenger and cargo aircraft (typically under 50 seats), helicopters, and even the risks faced by smaller airports and manufacturers. In 2007, Chris took on the responsibility of managing this portfolio. Then, in 2011, he made a big internal move by relocating to the United States with his family to join the team there.

A Global Force: The Legacy of Global Aerospace

With a history dating back to 1924, Global Aerospace has a rich heritage as an industry pioneer. This extensive experience translates into unmatched expertise in all aviation and aerospace insurance aspects.

Global Aerospace is the go-to insurer for some of the world’s most prestigious aviation companies, with some client partnerships exceeding 60 years. Their reach extends to airlines in over 80 countries and providing coverage for a staggering 30,000 general aviation aircraft worldwide. Additionally, they hold the leading position for insurance among 50% of the world’s major aerospace manufacturers and suppliers.

The aviation insurance provider maintains a significant presence across the UK, EU, and North America. Chris highlights that “Global Aerospace enjoys the benefits of being small in staff size (at approximately 300 people worldwide.”  However, this doesn’t limit their capabilities. “We leverage a century of experience, a large capital structure and ownership, and a drive for helping our clients thrive,” he adds. Such a unique blend allows them to combine swift, effective decision-making with the ability to provide a degree of security not available from a single aviation insurance company. For their clients, that means they can conduct operations confident that their insurance provider will be there for them should they need to file a claim.

Shaping the Future: Aviation Initiatives and Emerging Technologies

According to Chris, the aviation industry has made a remarkable century of progress, from the jet engine’s roar to supersonic breakthroughs. As Global Aerospace sets its sights on the next 100 years, exciting possibilities mingle with pressing challenges.

One major hurdle is the fight against carbon emissions. Governments and industry leaders have set a daring goal: Net Zero emissions by 2050. Achieving this ambitious target demands swift and extensive action backed by significant investment.

He further underlines that sustainability isn’t the only force shaping the future. Over 500 new aircraft are developing globally, many powered by electric or hybrid-electric engines. These revolutionary eVTOL (electric vertical takeoff and landing) aircraft promise to unlock entirely new possibilities for cargo and passenger transportation, even transforming urban aviation.

The third frontier of exploration lies in autonomy. Its influence will extend beyond aircraft design and operation, reforming airport ground infrastructure, impacting surrounding areas, and revolutionizing air traffic management.

Global Aerospace: Enabling the Future of Flight

Global Aerospace has been a supporter of the aviation industry for 100 years. Recognizing the need to stay ahead of the curve with emerging technologies, they’ve taken proactive steps to become a leader in this evolving landscape.

Chris explains: “We created a dedicated Emerging Technology Unit to meet the demands of these new challenges.” This team works closely with clients to comprehensively meet their evolving insurance needs.

Their focus areas include autonomous technologies, battery safety, new aircraft design, and more. Chris underscores the importance of collaboration within the insurance industry, recognizing that larger aviation risks will likely require participation from multiple insurers.

Global Aerospace has a proven track record of venturing into uncharted territory. In 2013, a team under Chris proactively assessed and underwrote drone insurance, identifying its potential as a burgeoning sector within aviation. Their foresight has allowed them to witness the growth of countless drone businesses.

While drone regulations are still evolving, this industry expert anticipates a surge in Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) operations in the coming decade, opening doors for longer flights and diverse applications like drone delivery. Despite its promise, drone delivery faces delays due to ongoing regulatory hurdles, and companies are still refining their solutions.

The natural progression from drones to larger electric aircraft is why Global Aerospace is actively involved in developing eVTOLs (electric vertical takeoff and landing vehicles) and other emerging aviation technologies. They’re proud to collaborate with leading companies at the forefront of this revolution.

Global Aerospace’s commitment to aviation goes beyond providing insurance. They actively invest in programs and partnerships that provide value-added benefits for their clients, foster innovation, enhance safety and advocate for future generations of aviators. Their specialization in aviation allows them to be nimble and adaptable, readily deploying resources and implementing technological solutions as needed.

Chris reiterates their unyielding passion: “Empowering the industry to thrive continues to motivate us to provide industry-leading aviation insurance and risk management programs for clients.”

A Day in the Life of an Aviation Insurance Leader

As SVP and Underwriting Executive, Chris is in charge of harnessing drones and emerging technology portfolios. Based in the US head office in Morris Plains, New Jersey, he collaborates with a team spread across the US and the global headquarters in London. At Global Aerospace, they cultivate a collaborative work environment, fostering trust among their team members—essential for a company with an extremely mobile workforce. This ensures consistent, high-quality service delivery for clients – particularly when they face their biggest challenges.