Earlier this week, Canada's Transport Minister announced that a drone had collided with a commercial aircraft, the first confirmed the collision of its kind in North America. Thankfully, the aircraft was only less damaged and could land safely. But this latest event, which many commentators thought was inevitable in view of the spread of consumer and commercial drones, highlights the potential risks associated with drone operations.
As previously discussed on this blog is a way to mitigate a company's risk of drone responsibilities through insurance. The path to coverage is not always as simple as it seems, however, since commercial drone operations present a series of insurance protection issues (for further discussion of important coverage issues, see our previous article here).
Common coverage issues include:
- What type of exposure do companies face from operational drones, and is there coverage available, either through standard forms or special policies?
- Does my company need a specialized policy to deal with drones? Is coverage for drones excluded according to my company's existing liability or property policy? Provided the coverage is available, are the limits sufficient?
- How does the FAA regulations and other local regulations affect potential coverage for drone operations?
- Are my company's officers and board members protected if an employee causes an accident? What happens if the company drives drones through a third-party provider or on-demand service?
- What can I do for my company to be sufficiently covered for physical damage to drone and / or third party liability arising from drone operations?
As with any insurance issues, the answer to these questions depends on many variables, including the type of business, the current drone operation and the relevant political language. Retaining experienced coverage counselors and other insurance personnel can help companies assess potential risks associated with existing or proposed drone operations and help maximize recovery in a requirement.