Drone insurance: A growing need for businesses and hobbyists

Published September 13, 2019

Drone Photography

Drone Photography” by Eugene Kim is licensed under CC BY 2.0 / Cropped from original 

Insurance Division Manager
 

Do you or your business use drone technology for commercial or recreational purposes? If so, you should verify that your drones are insured.

Insurance coverage for drones will protect you or your business from liability for bodily injury, property damage and other claims. Most general liability policies exclude coverage for drones and other aircraft, so it is important to confirm that your policy does not.

Why general liability policies might not cover drones

Earlier this year, the insurance industry news website PropertyCasualty360 highlighted the case of a wedding guest who lost an eye after she was accidentally struck by a drone, which the wedding photographer had used to record the ceremony and reception.

The photographer's insurance carrier denied a claim against his commercial general liability policy because, like most general liability policies, the policy contained an exclusion clause that eliminates coverage for bodily injury and property damage caused by the operator of an aircraft owned, contracted by or entrusted to a third party by the insured.

When the wedding guest filed a negligence suit against the photographer, the photographer sought to have the carrier pay for his defense. The carrier initially agreed before obtaining a court ruling that the carrier was not liable for the injury and had no obligation to provide a defense to the insured.

The court held that while the policy's aircraft exclusion clause did not define the term “aircraft,” the Merriam–Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary definition would include a drone. Finding that the policy did not cover the claim and the carrier was not obligated to defend it, the court granted summary judgement in favor of the carrier and awarded the carrier the defense costs it incurred.

Specialty policies for drones

The above case demonstrates the growing need for businesses — not to mention hobbyists and other recreational operators— to verify that their drones are insured. Most standard homeowners and business insurance policies exclude coverage for aircraft, and the term is commonly understood to include drones. Although many homeowners insurance policies will cover drones as model or hobby aircraft, most business insurance policies will not.

Sylvia Group's insurance programs for drones provide coverage for both commercial and recreational operators. If you or your business use drone technology, please contact me to find out whether an endorsement to an existing insurance policy or one of our specialty policies is right for you.

CONTACT KERRI REGO

About Kerri Rego and Sylvia Group

Kerri_cropped from groupA skilled executive with more than 16 years' experience in the insurance and risk management industries, Kerri Rego joined Sylvia Group as the agency's Insurance Division Manager after serving as vice president of operations at two large New England brokerages. Dedicated to providing clients with the best possible service and products, she excels at putting her team in position to succeed with creative, forward-thinking solutions to customer needs. While her work with Sylvia Group is largely behind the scenes, Kerri enjoys interacting with clients and coordinating efforts to design customized business insurance and personal insurance programs.

 

A repeat winner as "Best Insurance Agency" in the SouthCoast Media Best of the Best Awards program, Sylvia Group helps businesses and individuals protect their future by designing insurancebenefits and financial planning programs. We’re a locally owned agency known for our commitment to our clients and our community, as well for our industry expertise. Founded in New Bedford, MA, in 1950, headquartered in neighboring Dartmouth, and serving businesses and individuals throughout Massachusetts, Rhode Island and beyond, Sylvia Group is certified as a Woman Owned Business Enterprise with the Massachusetts Supplier Diversity Office and has the distinction of being the first six-time recipient of the Five Star designation awarded by the Massachusetts Association of Insurance Agents (MAIA) for all-around agency excellence. 

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