We apologise for “Droning” on about insurance, but can it keep up with developments in technology?
As we can all attest, technology moves forward in leaps and bounds, sometimes without us really noticing the changes, to become part and parcel of our day to day activities. While we may all adapt to the changes in the technology we use every day, the insurance market cannot always keep up with these advancements.
Most insurance policy wordings have been in existence for many years and, as they are based on legal principles, are generally slow to react to changes in the way professions uses new technologies in their day to day activities.
This can lead to potential gaps in the protection offered by traditional insurance policies.
Whilst businesses may view the use of new technology as simply part of their existing services, believing that cover will be provided automatically without the need to check with their broker/insurer(s), this is not necessarily the case.
One example of this is the commercial use of Drones to carry out surveys of land or buildings, which brings with it a number of different risks and exposures. These can include injury to the operator, injury or loss/damage to third-party persons/property or damage to owned/hired equipment whilst in use.
You may assume these are automatically covered, however…
The cover may exclude damage to equipment directly resulting from its own failure, so whilst you may be covered should you drop the item when taking it out of the box, if the item fails and falls from the sky, you may not be covered?
Public Liability Insurance
Whilst the policy wording will vary between insurers, the cover will generally exclude liability arising from the use of any aircraft or other aerial device made or intended to travel through air or space.
How has the insurance market addressed this?
Specific insurance cover to address the risks that arise from the use of Drones is now available for Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) which includes:
Physical loss or damage to UAS – including detachable/non-detachable payloads, spares and ground control station
Cover whilst in flight, on the ground or in transit, including theft.
Third Party Liability Cover
Cover for your legal liability to pay as compensatory damages for bodily injury and/or property damage to third parties.
Complying with the Laws and Regulations
Before your company can begin using a drone for commercial use, you must first receive permission from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). To receive permission, your company’s drone pilot(s) must possess at least a basic understanding of the applicable aircraft pilot regulations, which should include the Air Navigation Order (ANO) and the Rules of the Air Regulations.
For more information, we recommend visiting the Civil Aviation Authority website where they have a specific section providing information about all forms of unmanned aviation including drones. There is also a specific website Drone Safe UK developed in association with NATS and CAA.
Putting it All Together
There will always be risks associated with new technology. Protecting your company means understanding those risks and minimising your liabilities.