First pay-as-you-fly drone cover scheduled for take-off
Written by staff reporter
Allianz is working with InsurTech company Flock on digital insurance solutions for the growing UAS market. The partnership’s first product, which is scheduled to be launched in the UK later this year, is a mobile app for Android and iOS that enables operators to purchase ‘pay-as-you-fly’ drone insurance.
Drones are fast becoming a multi-billion dollar industry, as the number of recreational users grows and the benefits businesses can gain from using such innovative technology becomes apparent. The number of UAS is predicated to triple by 2020. Globally, UAS market volume is forecast to reach at least 4.7 million units by 2020, with the market for commercial application of UAS technology estimated to soar from US$2bn to US$127bn. Such projections are driven by drones becoming cheaper, smaller and easier to use, as well as regulatory progress around the globe. The potential value of the global commercial drone insurance market is set to reach US$1bn by 2020.
However, the increasing number of drones in the skies also brings new risks, such as collision with aircraft, buildings and people. The number of near-misses with aircraft is a growing concern, resulting in the UK government’s announcement that drones of a certain size will need to be registered and users take a safety test in future. Drone insurance has a vital role to play in protecting operators and the public from such risks.
Brian Kirwan, UK CEO, AGCS said: “Twenty-two incidents involving commercial airliners and possible drones were investigated by the Civil Aviation Authority’s Airprox Board in the first four months of this year alone. As drone usage increases, new risk exposures will emerge including the risk of cyber-attacks and terrorism. Further incidents are also likely to occur once regulations are finalised that strike a balance between reaping the benefits of drones and minimising misuse. Future incidents could result in multi-million pound claims against businesses, operators and manufacturers.”
To create the app, Flock partnered with data providers to aggregate real-time data relevant to drone flight risk such as drone information, operator profiles, environmental data, and hyperlocal weather conditions (accurate to within a few minutes and a few hundred metres). Flock’s algorithms convert this real-time geospatial data into a risk metric, and then an insurance premium for commercial or recreational drone flights. Pilots will be fully insured for their flight time, within a specified geographical region – all of which is customisable at the point of sale, or can be scheduled in advance. The ‘Flock Cover’ app will also provide drone pilots with a comprehensive safety tool, alerting them to ground hazards, real-time weather updates, Notice to Airmen (NOTAMS), and restricted airspace.
Ed Leon Klinger, Flock’s CEO, said “Flock is reinventing drone insurance from the ground up. Increasing drone use will bring complex risks. Flock uses cutting edge data analytics to identify and quantify these risks and together with Allianz, you’re now able to insure against them. Our app puts control back into the hands of the pilot, allowing them to purchase insurance exactly when they need it and fully customised to the needs of their job”.
Tom Chamberlain, Underwriting Manager for Aerospace and General Aviation, AGCS added: “Allianz is at the forefront of insuring the rapidly expanding UAS industry and we’re excited to partner with Flock to explore big data driven risk intelligence solutions directly addressing the safety and insurance needs of both commercial and recreational users. This partnership further aligns with Allianz’s digital strategy to focus on new distribution channels for our products and provide enhanced customer journeys in a technologically and digitally changing landscape.”