Drone 2 - Flickr

In less than five years, the use of drones (unmanned aerial vehicles – UAVs) could become common practice for almost 40 percent of businesses. In the next 10 years, it could be common practice for 85 percent of businesses. This information comes from a 2015 survey of corporate risk managers conducted by Munich Re.

What is the greatest risk of using drones for business purposes? The risk managers surveyed said potential issues related to “invasion of privacy” were their biggest concern followed in descending order by inadequate insurance, personal injury and property damage.

An estimated 30,000 commercial and civil drones could be circling the skies in the US by 2020, according to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) estimates that between 2015 and 2025, the drone industry will create 100,000 jobs and contribute $82 billion to the US economy.

“Businesses have set their sights on new applications for drones that could speed product delivery, monitor crops or capture claims data among dozens of others uses,” said Gerry Finley, Senior Vice President, Casualty Underwriting, Munich Reinsurance America, Inc. “Drones are also attracting the attention of public entities who view these ‘flying robots’ as a way to reduce some of the dangers law enforcement officers and other responders face. In some cases, drones will become a common aspect of an organization’s operations. However, there are technical, legal, regulatory and risk management issues associated with drone use that must be addressed over time.”

Seventy-six percent of risk managers surveyed said they would invest in UAV-specific insurance coverage even if it was not required. According to Finley, “The drone insurance market is still evolving as the industry looks at ways to provide coverage for businesses that offer drone services to other entities, or for traditional industry segments that own and operate drones as an incidental part of their operations. The Insurance Services Office (ISO) has released a series of optional endorsements to address some liability issues, but the lack of credible loss information remains a critical issue for insurers as they seek out the best solutions for this emerging exposure for their clients and the public.”

For more information, see 2015 Drone Survey.


Ryan Lahti is the founder and managing principal of OrgLeader, LLC. Stay up to date on Ryan’s STEM-based organization tweets here: @ryanlahti

(Photo: Drone 2, Flickr)