New rules will support better drone risk management, IUA says

New safety measures for drone operators, including registration requirements and the introduction of an online test, have been welcomed by the International Underwriting Association, which has long campaigned for change in UAV regulation.

The new legislation came into effect on 30th November. Three days before that date, the Civil Aviation Authority said that over 40,000 had complied, but that tens of thousands of users had yet to register. And now, those that fail to provide proof of registration when asked by the police will be subject to a £1,000 fine.

Pilot registration was one of a number of recommendations published in a report by Parliament’s Science and Technology Committee and backed by the IUA. These included a recommendation that the government should complete an assessment of the risk drones pose to manned commercial aircraft and publish the results by the end of 2020. The Committee also urged legal clarification of privacy issues surrounding the use of drones, which it says may increase with future improvements in technology.

Director of legal and market services at the IUA, Chris Jones said scrutiny of operators must match the severity of the risk.

“Commercial drone pilots have been coming under increasingly strict scrutiny for some time now. It is important that appropriate checks are in place for all operators given the potentially significant risks to property and public safety.

“Insurers are well prepared for the part they can play in supporting the safe use of drones in UK airspace and users should carefully consider the support that insurance cover can provide in managing liabilities.”

IUA members have formed a Developing Technology Monitoring Group which harnesses expertise from across a number of traditional insurance classes to assess new technologies. The group has provided insurance expertise to the Department for Transport ahead of amendments to an Air Navigation Order on the safe use of drones in the UK. It has also published research addressing the capabilities of counter-drone technology and the growing use of on-demand insurance for drone operators.

Jones added: “Aviation drones offer exciting opportunities in many different areas across the UK economy and society as a whole. If their benefits are to be maximised, insurance will need to be part of a well-structured supervisory framework that priorities safety.”

Estimates suggest that there are around 90,000 drone users in the UK.

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