Insurance Firm Dubs Drones ‘A Liability Nightmare’

Insurance Firm Dubs Drones ‘A Liability Nightmare’

Drone use is increasing – not only for person use, but in real estate, tourism, insurance, mining, engineering, marketing, entertainment, sports – and one insurance company is calling out the upward trend as a “liability nightmare”.

A Remotely Piloted Aircraft or Drone is defined as an Aircraft. Under the Damage by Aircraft Act, owners and operators have strict liability – both jointly and individually.

Commercial operation of a drone is legally defined as any flight not conducted for sport or recreation, even if the use of the drone is not used specifically for selling that businesses services.

“For any business utilising this ground-breaking technology, it is important to have adequate and specialised cover,” John O’Brien, Director of Kobe Insurance says. “Not only is it important to protect your investment, but also in consideration to possible liability cases.”

O’Brien says it is imperative that businesses understand the implication of strict liability before operating a Drone commercially, and that operating without adequate insurance could lead to serious liability under the Damage by Aircraft Act.

“Analysis conducted at QBE Aviation in conjunction with external data input indicates common cause of loss when it comes to utilising Drone technology,” O’Brien says. “This includes pilot error during pre-flight and flight, wildlife and battery degradation due to excessive use.”

To completely understand the legal operational limitations, O’Brien also suggests all business owners who utilise Drones to become members of the Australian Association for Unmanned Systems, obtain a Remote Operators Certificate, and become familiar with the operational limitations imposed by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority.

“It’s also good professional practice to ensure the owners and controllers of the Drone are correctly trained,” he advises. “This should be done by a registered training organisation.”

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