Insurance Europe calls for a common pan-European legal framework on drones

Insurance Europe calls upon the commission to provide a clear common framework on licensing, certification and authorization, classification by use and size on drones, at EU level, a recent paper published by the European federation of insurers says.

The paper complements Insurance Europe's response to the European Commission's 'public consultation on drones (unmanned aircraft) - technical standards for drones as a product and conditions for drone operations' questionnaire. Basically, as drones offer huge potential for innovation in a wide variety of sectors, contributing to the creation of new jobs and businesses in Europe, the Commission's focus on this topic is more than welcomed.

Insurance Europe underlines that insurance products for drones are already on the market and tailored to meet the needs of drone manufacturers, distributors and users. At the same time, insurers make use of drones for risk management and claims assessment or processing. The use of drones by insurers and number of drone insurance products will likely grow in the future.

Yet, there are some factors impeding on the market's growth, among them, one of the most important being the current differences in legal situations for drones across member states. "In some Member States it is difficult for insurers to provide insurance for drone physical damage (a.k.a. hull) or product liability due to reasons ranging from the lack of information on the use of drones (i.e. insufficient statistics or loss records) to the lack of a clear common framework on elements such as registration or licensing, for example", the paper says. Therefore, a regulatory framework that provides clear common basic principles, especially in some key areas, such as licensing and certifications, would be of great interest.

The European insurance industry would welcome a unified approach towards the:

  • Standardization of licensing requirements, certifications and authorizations
  • Differentiation between and clear definitions of commercial and private/recreational use of drones
  • Differentiation between and clear definitions for drones depending on their size and weight (eg model airplanes vs drones).
Finally, with respect to privacy and security concerns related to drones, and proposed solutions such as airspace restrictions or 'no-fly-zones', Insurance Europe welcomes flexibility at Member State level. Insurers see potential in making use of drones to assess damage or post-disaster scenarios that would potentially necessitate flying a drone into a restricted airspace to assess the damage. As outlined above, a standardized procedure for drone operators to obtain authorization to fly drones into certain areas is welcomed.

The full argumentation of the above suggestions is available in the original Insurance Europe paper, here.

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