In my last post, I reviewed some major changes in the way the US Federal Aviation Agency will regulate and license drone operations, bringing US regulations more in line with those already in place in Canada.

The difficulty of finding qualified commercial drone operators in the US has hampered the growth of the industry, as a full pilots’ license has been required for commercial operation. With the FAA now asking commercial operators only to pass a knowledge-based examination, use of drones for commercial purposes in the US is expected to increase dramatically.

This has several important implications for property and casualty insurers in both countries.

  1. Drone manufacture and operation will become a significant business on its own, with the FAA predicting $82 billion in revenues and 100,000 new jobs over the next ten years. This creates opportunities for insurers to develop new products, both to insure the drones themselves and to cover their owners and operators for a wide range of potential liabilities.
  2. Insurers will be using the drones for a variety of underwriting and claims administration activities. Drones can perform “due diligence” by conducting inventories of insured properties and by inspecting insured properties for potential risks, such as cracks in oil and gas pipelines or drought conditions on insured farmlands. Drones can also support the investigation and processing of claims, for example, by evaluating roof damage caused by storms.
  3. The flood of largely unstructured data generated by drones poses challenges to insurers. Adept carriers will be able to capture, organize and analyze this data expeditiously and to use such data in developing new products and in modeling and pricing risks.

Read more of our drones coverage.

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