Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) or Drones as they are commonly called are increasingly used for commercial purposes by many industries such as real estate agencies, surveyors, film and video makers, builders, civil engineers, farmers, agricultural services and for various mapping purposes.
The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) sets the regulations for the use of certain drones. Up until 2016, drone regulations required operators to hold both a Remote Operators Certificate (ReOC) and a Controllers Certificate. In 2016 CASA changed regulations around small commercial drone use, introducing the under 2kg commercial category, which no longer required a remote pilot’s licence (however it still requires a person to comply with the Standard operating Conditions outlined by CASA). It’s important for drone users to be appropriately qualified for their use and to also have appropriate insurance cover.
Why Drone Cover?
There are a number of risks owners and operators of commercial drones should consider when protecting their assets and third-party liability.
•Accidental damage coverage includes damage that occurs whilst in flight. The policy will also extend to cover road transit whilst in the insured care, custody or control for specified events.
•Ground risks only cover is also available if required.
•Third Party Liability (TPL) cover binds to each RPAS individually. TPL will cover bodily injury or property damage as a result of an RPAS accident.
•TPL can also cover bodily injury or property damage caused by an occurrence in connection with your client’s RPAS business.
Drone Safety Rules
The drone safety rules vary depending on whether you are flying commercially or for fun (recreationally). When flying for money, or any form of economic gain, you may need to be licensed and certified as an operator, or work for a certified operator. Novice drone operators or owners may not be aware that any flight of a drone that isn’t in a recreational or a sporting capacity may be considered as being operated for ‘hire or reward’ which means it still may be classified as a commercial operation. It is important to also be aware that when a drone is used for purposes other than sport or recreation it may attract the risk of strict liability implications under Section 10 of the Damage by Aircraft Act.
Strict liability means that a person can be legally responsible for damage or loss caused by their acts or omissions with no requirement for a third party to prove fault or negligence against the drone owner or operator.
It’s vital for commercial drone operators to receive the correct certification to improve their understanding of their legal operational limitations and responsibilities. Find out more information on flying drones from CASA here.
The top 4 reasons for drone accidents
Increasing business opportunities to use drones has meant more people are investing in the technology and having a go at flying – many for the first time. Drone crash rates are doubling every year based on a leading drone insurer’s claims information. The most common reasons for drone accidents are:
- Poor flight planning – people need to improve their situational awareness and consider factors like the weather conditions as well as making sure the drone is fit for purpose
- Battery failures – many operators don’t understand how to properly change batteries causing battery failures due to pushing the battery unit beyond its capability
- Wildlife hazards – flight planning is critical and poor situational awareness can lead to bird attacks or bird traffic and interference
- Not understanding regulations – flying the drone into high risk situations or not abiding by CASA regulations leading to unsafe situations
We’re always happy to discuss what types of insurance you might need for the activities you undertake. If you have any questions about Drone Insurance give us a call or send us an email. Contact us here.
You should ensure you obtain and consider the Product Disclosure Statement for the policy before you make any decision to acquire it. The information on this website has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs.
Original Article: https://www.qbe.com.au/news/drones-and-insurance-the-sky-is-the