Inside Unmanned Systems provides actionable business intelligence to decision-makers and influencers operating within the global UAS community. Features include analysis of key technologies, policy/regulatory developments and new product design.
Issue link: http://insideunmanned.epubxp.com/i/763107
44 unmanned systems inside December 2016/January 2017 AIR RISK MANAGEMENT Drone insurance is readily available for all manner of drone-related risks including signal tampering and fl y-aways as well as damage to your, or a customer's, equipment. by Dee Ann Divis Photos courtesy of Airware, Matt Helfgott W hile there is great frustration over the slow integration of drones into airspace long used exclusively by piloted planes, unmanned operators are ben- efiting greatly from the presence of manned aircraft in another arena—insurance. Despite the youth of the commercial drone industry, the business infrastructure and fi- nancial capacity it needs to handle risk is already in place because the brokers and un- derwriters who have supported manned avia- tion for decades have developed coverage for unmanned activities. This is making it much easier for operators of unmanned aircraft sys- tems (UAS) to protect their business against accidents and devastating losses while doing filming, inspection and other activities. In- surance is also available for their customers, universities doing training and research and others like the entrepreneurs testing out new wing designs and sensors. "The industry exists today," said Terry Miller, owner and president of Colorado-based Trans- port Risk Insurance. Founded in 2003, Trans- port Risk is an aviation/aerospace specialty in- surance broker that got its start insuring the aerial assets involved in film production. "About five years ago some of our film pro- duction clients approached us saying that they wanted to use drones," Miller told Inside Un- manned Systems. "We thought it was a pretty good idea," he said, because small UAS would pose much less risk than the helicopters then being used for filming. Miller's firm began de- veloping insurance products tailored to drone operators, convincing one insurer, then more, to back the policies. Aviation insurance brokers handle most UAS insurance, Miller said, in part because the courts determined in the case Huerta v Pirker that drones are aircraft and, in part, be- cause insurance is regulated at the state level. That means insurers would have to be licensed separately in every state in which they wanted to operate—a complication they don't want to deal with for what is still a very small sector. "They deal with specialty brokers... that's what we do. Our background is aviation and aero- space—that's all that we do. They prefer to deal with specialists who understand it." While brokers have appointments—that is agreements to represent insurance firms in the market, Miller said, the broker serves the client seeking insurance. They present the cli- ent's needs to the insuring firms—usually over the phone or by email—bringing all of the re- sponses back to the client. From these they can make a choice of coverage. Coverage, Costs Standard policy coverage limits for a com- mercial operator, as reported by those who spoke to Inside Unmanned Systems, range from $1million to $5 million. Insuring Against… EVERYTHING BY THE NUMBERS $ 1–5 million The coverage under a typical commercial drone policy. Source: Interviews