Surge in drone use creates multi-million pound insurance risk

As the use of drones becomes more commonplace, in both the commercial and consumer worlds, operators and manufacturers of the unmanned vehicles could face multi-million pound claims, insurance experts have warned.

With the announcement of Amazon’s drone delivery service, Prime Air, earlier in the year - accompanied by a call for separate airspace zones for commercial drone flights - the industry is moving forwards quickly with repercussions for insurers.

“Within the next 10 to 15 years, drones could replace cranes on construction sites and monitor traffic jams on public highways, which means new risks for aviation underwriters,” Thomas Kriesmann, a senior underwriter at AGCS told the Independent.

“We see the potential for multi-million pound claims. We get the impression that the majority of manufacturers are not covered in the way we think they should be and we see complex liability scenarios that could involve manufacturers and service providers.”

Civil Aviation Authority statistics released recently showed seven incidents, recorded between May 2014 and March 2015, of near collisions between planes and drones at airports across the UK.

According to Forbes data, there are also almost 2,500 registered drone operators in the EU – already dwarfing the 2,342 who are registered for flying in the rest of the world combined.