Significant increase in drone insurance cover, expert says
Wednesday, 29 March 2017
Photo: Delta Insurance general manager Craig Kirk
New Zealand can expect many more people taking out drone insurance as the number of drones rapidly multiply meaning potential for accidents significantly increases.
The drone industry by its nature is driven by scientific advancement, technological development and commercial entrepreneurialism, Delta Insurance general manager Craig Kirk says. Delta is New Zealand’s only locally owned and operated insurance company of its kind.
New Zealand is supported by regulatory environments that promote and enable the appropriate testing and practical commercial use of drones.
Kirk says if the risks associated with the manufacture and use of drone production technologies outweighs the benefits that are generated by drones then this can hamper future development of the industry.
“Insurance is a mechanism by which industry participants can transfer risk to underwriters and this can provide favourable outcomes to manufacturers, operators and regulators alike. As such we believe that by providing suitable insurance solutions to the industry it will enable the industry to manage their risk profile which will in turn permit the industry to flourish and prosper.
“Insurance premium start at $500 and goes up from there depending on the value and nature of the drone, what it is being used for and the experience and capability of the drone pilot.
“Insurance will cover the policyholder for a range of things including damage to the drone in flight, on the ground or in transit; liability to third parties for damage caused by the drone; and cover for prosecutions under certain statutes including privacy legislation, health and safety legislation and the civil aviation legislation.”
Kirk says he had heard of one report where a drone has had been knocked down by shotgun fire. The person with the shotgun had taken exception to the drone being flown over his property.
“We cover commercial drone operators who have an understanding of civil aviation regulations. It can be big business as we are aware of some commercial grade drones being valued in excess of $250,000.
“There is no requirement for drones to be registered in New Zealand at present so there is no accurate record of the number of drones being in use however we know that the number is in the thousands.
“The global drones sector is expanding rapidly with expenditure on the emerging technology set to double to $91 billion over the next decade.
“Due to its favourable regulatory regime NZ is one of the first countries to allow testing of drone deliveries, for example, Domino's well publicised trialling of delivery of pizza by drone.”
Delta Insurance has just been recognised by Hong Kong-based APAC CIO Outlook as one of the top 10 risk management solution providers in the Asia Pacific region for 2017.
Delta Insurance launched New Zealand’s most comprehensive drone operator’s insurance earlier this year after noting the commercial drone technology, valued at over $127 billion globally, continues to balloon out.
New Zealand sectors employing drones include agriculture, public services, wildlife protection and research, videography, surveying, waterways, buildings and industrial equipment; sporting and other events; monitoring power lines, media, film, real estate, oil and gas and logistics industries.