Drones in Business - Liability Insurance Difficulty

Drones are increasing in use for a wide range of businesses. Also known as Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) or Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) the price of this technology is starting to drop significantly each year and the relative upsurge in world-wide usage is set to continue.

  • Architectural surveying and inspections
  • Real estate agent photography
  • Aerial mapping
  • TV and media film production
  • Farming, aerial spraying
  • Insurance use for assessing risks and damage

 

Advantages to Businesses

The advantages of drones in business are clear. Ladders and safety lines can be eliminated. The chance of someone falling or being unable to access a particular site are greatly reduced. There is now a requirement to scaffold if people are working at heights, so use of drones removes this cost. Drones can survey a large area in a short amount of time.

The CAA governs the rules and regulations for drone use to ensure the safety and security of everyone and is currently in the process of forming new laws for their use. However there are existing rules governing their use. For example operators need to be able to see the aircraft with their own eyes at all times; where photographic or video information is gathered rules on use of this information is similar to those for CCTV.

 

NZ Liability Policies Exclude Aircraft

For insurance purposes insurance companies consider drones to be ‘aircraft’. Which causes issues when it comes to Public Liability insurance. Under Public Liability policies in NZ there is a universal exclusion for claims arising from any aircraft.

The liability issues are limitless:

  • Risks in the air relating to interring with air traffic, damage to persons or property
  • Potential litigation for breach of privacy following collection or use of video and photography
  • Breach of intellectual property or trade secrets via taking photos of competitors premises or jobs

 

Covering Liability for Drones

Despite the exclusion for aircraft in Public Liability policies, a small number of insurers are able to write liability cover for drones. A good broker will be able to advise on which insurance solution will suit you and provide at least some liability cover for drone use.

 

For more information:

Public/General Liability Insurance

Civil Aviation Authority FAQs on Drone Use

Insurance Company AIG's promotional video of drone use

Insurance Business Article – NZ Provides Testing Ground for Drone Use


Kim Matthews

About the Author

Name: Kim Matthews        

I’m the Leader Business Development & Sales for Rothbury’s Hawke’s Bay branch. I commenced my insurance career in 1980, have an insight in to how underwriters and assessors work and I’m a business owner myself - all great…
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I’m the Leader Business Development & Sales for Rothbury’s Hawke’s Bay branch. I commenced my insurance career in 1980, have an insight in to how underwriters and assessors work and I’m a business owner myself - all great skills and experience that make me the broker I am.

I love dealing with people and I’m passionate about insurance! 

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Disclaimer: The articles published on this blog are designed to provide general information and do not take into account any individual’s particular circumstances. We recommend that you obtain professional advice on your requirements before making any decision about a financial product.

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