Drones: legislation 2.0 with no real impact on loss ratio

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drone

On Tuesday 22 September 2015, a TV drone crashed just a few metres from the skier Marcel Hirscher at the Alpine Ski World Cup. The striking footage travelled the world and public opinion awoke to the danger inherent to this kind of machine.

 

The initial success of the drone market for the general public and professionals was mainly driven by their use to shoot aerial footage.

Since then, drones have moved on from being a simple “accessory” to a “tool” in their own right, being used for an ever wider range of applications: building site inspections, surveillance, transport/deliveries, or even spreading on farms.

And it’s no longer rare to find companies whose entire business is built upon drones.

However, the incredible growth of the industry surrounding this technology has increased the variety and scale of the risks that come with it: breakage, loss, bodily or material damage, fire risk, etc.

This matter is all the more important given that drones are regularly used around places of interest and at public events, meaning that the damage caused when an incident occurs is often more serious.

 

drone 2

An image that will send shivers down the spine of any CL insurer…

 

It is against this backdrop that, on 27 September 2016, the French National Assembly approved a draft bill designed to make civilian drones safer.

Its main provisions are as follows:

  • Compulsory online registration of drones
  • Compulsory training for drone pilots
  • “Manufacturers and importers” obliged to include “instructions on using drones. These instructions will detail the main guidelines and rules to follow to use these devices in line with applicable legislation and regulations” This obligation “also applies to sellers of second-hand drones”
  • All drones must be fitted with “light signals and electronic or digital signalling
  • Compulsory “capped specifications”
  • Compulsory “alarm that sounds when the pilot loses control of the drone or its trajectory”.

While this new legislation clarifies a few points on which legislators had previously remained silent, in particular the compulsory training for “hobbyist” pilots and compulsory malfunction warning systems, it has to be said that the content covering loss ratio management remains low.

Indeed, we may bemoan that there are no compulsory additional technical components to make the machines whizzing over our heads more reliable, such as redundant safety systems or fall-prevention systems for leisure drones.

In conclusion, the use of drones, and their variety of uses will only continue to grow, and unless there are some major technological developments, this will only bring more accidents.

 

Stéphane MARCET
Loss adjuster – GM Consultant Group

Guilhem MARTIN-RAGET
Loss adjuster – GM Consultant Group