Zurich’s Canadian arm unveiled a new drone insurance package designed for corporate clients. It’s designed to appeal to multiple industries that do business in the country and address coverage gaps in existing policies.

Zurich Canada said it developed the coverage in partnership with U.K.-based Global Aerospace Underwriting Mangers Ltd., an outfit that offers aerospace insurance. Target clients include companies in energy, communications and other industries that increasingly rely on commercial drones in what has been a fast-growing practice.

Drone-related insurance coverage was previously available only through specialist aviation insurers, Zurich Canada said.

Zurich Canada’s initiative comes in the wake of clearly-defined Canadian regulations governing drone use. Transport Canada prevents drone use, for example, over or within built-up areas of cities or towns. It also has clearly defined guidelines for how to obtain clearance for use of a commercial drone, the company noted, and regulations place drone operations under Canada’s privacy laws. In the U.S., by contrast, commercial or private drone users struggle to win authorization or a waiver/authorization from the Federal Aviation Administration for a drone designed for non-military use.

U.S. regulators have made some progress, however. In late March, the FAA said it loosened some requirements for obtaining government permission to fly commercial drones. Property/casualty companies have struggled to fill regulatory coverage gaps, however, as the FAA considers updated rules.

Meanwhile, State Farm recently reached a milestone for insurers seeking to use drones as an underwriting tool. The Illinois-based insurer announced that it was the first insurer in the United States to receive FAA permission to test drones for commercial use.

Zurich Canada’s new coverage offers a number of services designed to help companies manage and reduce drone-related risks, including access to online operations and safety training, risk management tools for staff flying drones, regulatory updates and expert advice. The policy also addresses gaps, such as the reality that using a drone for commercial purposes is considered an aviation activity, and falls under aviation exclusions for most general liability policies if a drone injures someone or causes damage.

Zurich Canada’s coverage gives companies first-party property coverage for theft or damage to the drone and any related ground equipment. The coverage also applies to electronics or other items carried by the drone. There’s also third-party liability coverage meant to address drone-related property damage and bodily injury, premises liability at locations used in connection with drone flights, and medical expenses. As well, clients can get coverage extensions that can include malicious damage, system hacking and personal injury.

Source: Zurich Canada

Topics Legislation Aviation Canada