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Startup launches clever drone insurance scheme

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For those wanting to delve into the big wide world of UAVs, consumer drones can be a pricey bit of kit.

With many popular models costing upwards of $500, it is unsurprising that new drone owners are often nervous about taking to the skies. With one wrong (and very easy to make) move, their shiny new craft can instantly become a smouldering pile of detritus. Good luck getting your money back!

Even worse: you may crash your drone into somebody else – potentially making you liable for damages or injuries.

The solution? Either decide you’ll wear the cost or get insurance.

While drone insurance is hardly a revolutionary concept , a London startup named Flock offers a clever approach to insurance which is convenient and saves owners money: use real-time flight data to calculate the cost of insurance. Flock company recently raised £2.25 million ($3 million) in seed funding and currently have around 1000 users.

At present, it is not a requirement for private owners in the US to have insurance. There are nevertheless multiple companies that offer policies. AvionAIG and others are just some of the traditional insurers that have policies covering the drones themselves and the pilot’s liability. These schemes are generally geared towards commercial users (because the drone’s are worth more). They do also offer cheaper policies for private users, although these tend to require an ongoing commitment.

How does Flock work?

Company founder Antton Pena founded Flock while writing his thesis at Imperial College London about how real-time data could quantify drone flight risks. Flock offers pay-as-you-fly insurance unwritten by German insurer Allianz.

Through use of the company’s app, Flock Cover, recreational drone owners can select a date, time and area they wish to fly their drone. The app will then calculate a price and you can choose to be covered for that journey. All of this can be done within one minute.

The cost of coverage starts from £3 ($4) a journey and users can insure their journey for up to an hour. Flock analyzes a pilot’s risk profile (age, level of experience) alongside real-time and geospatial data within the selected flight area. Additionally, Flock’s Flight Planning tool allows users to see where it’s safest to fly their drones within a 10-day period.

The team behind Flock. Supplied.

Flock is not currently offered in the United States but there is a similar scheme called Verifly which also has an app and offers insurance for around $10 an hour. Would you use these type of schemes? Let us know!

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