Demand for drone regulation grows

Wednesday, May 31, 2017 - 10:43

It is hoped that this summer's Government consultation will result in a defined framework governing drone use as the lack of registration for drones poses a particular challenge for insurers.

Recent figures suggest that drone-related incidents in 2016 is up 180% from the previous year, as recorded by UK police forces. This was a total of 3,456 incidents. While some reports relate to private disputes, such as rows between neighbours, the rise indicates just how much drones have entered the mainstream.

As UAV's become increasingly sophisticated and available to purchase over the internet, recreational use is likely to continue to grow. This was tested last month by a Civil Aviation Authority report last month, which confirmed the first ever “near-miss” involving multiple drones and a passenger plane over east London in November 2016. Both drones involved in the east London incident were un-registered, which prevented identification of the operators. While contact between plane and drones was thankfully avoided, the lack of traceability would also have thwarted any attempts to recover losses should a collision have occurred.

Requiring drones to be registered would be one way to mitigate the type of risk seen in the east London incident. Insurers could also make compliance with certain regulations, like the Air Navigation Order, a specific policy term. Alternatively, it could be a requirement that all drone pilots are air-worthiness trained before its use is covered.