Last week’s drone conference was an eye-opener in many respects. The one thing I was not expecting to hear at the conference was that you need to have third party insurance for drones just like for your car. At first, I thought this is something that the drone sellers came up with to squeeze some extra money out of enthusiasts. But I was told that this is a requirement of Statutory Instrument 127 of 2018 (SI 127 of 2018) “Civil Aviation (Remotely Piloted Aircraft) Regulations” in Section 28.
“A remotely piloted aircraft system operator certificate holderSI 127 of 2018, Section 28
shall hold a third party insurance cover for the operations at all times”
On top of needing a drone pilot’s licence (which many pilots in the country don’t have), you are also required to independently insure your drone as you would with any other asset. This is a bit of a problem because as far as I knew there were no insurance companies that were offering policies for unmanned aerial vehicles.
That was until I fortuitously bumped into the representatives from Firstlink Insurance Brokers. They did the leg work and partnered with a local underwriter (or a firm or individuals who do risk assessment) to cover drone operators’ equipment with what might be the first policy of its kind in Zimbabwe.
Firstlink’s policy is worldwide and covers:
- Accidental Damage/ Loss to the actual drone – the policy covers damages to the drone and insured accessories that occur accidentally whether in flight or not in flight which require the drone to be repaired or replaced. It also covers loss of the drone during flight and where it is subsequently not recovered.
- Theft – Theft of the drone and insured accessories.
- Malicious Damage – intentional damage to your drone or insured accessories done by third parties e.g. a security drone shot and destroyed by thieves.
- Third Party Liabilities – the policy covers legal liability to third parties for accidental property damage and accidental bodily injury (fatal or otherwise) caused by the operation of the drone up to your selected limit
How much will it cost?
This is where things get a little complicated because there is no set price for any one policy. According to Firstlink, factors like the value of the drone, liability limit and any additional accessories like camera, sensors etc will determine what the client ends up paying.
All of this isn’t really new because anything that is a first will need some time to find benchmarks. Moreover, in Zimbabwe no one really knows how many drones have been brought in, this includes the makes models and accessories. So to peg prices and create policies without the whole picture, understandably, is tricky.
Drone operators can get their equipment assessed by Firstlink Insurance Brokers and if you are one of those people you can reach out to them with the contacts in the link here.