“Technology and innovation, in the form of unmanned aerial systems (UAS or drones, in the vernacular), has vaulted far ahead of the FAA’s [Federal Aviation Administration’s] rules and regulations. The skies are beginning to buzz with low-cost, high-performance craft capable of gathering and transmitting data, delivering goods and so much more. … The only problem is that they’re currently illegal in the United States. Civilian and industrial drone operations are less restricted in Canada and in the European Union, but widespread use is still inhibited there, as here, by an uncertain regulatory environment,” writes Jonathan S. Ziss, Chair of Goldberg Segalla’s Aviation Litigation Practice Group.
“Experts see it as likely that federal regulation will include minimum insurance requirements, at least for liability coverage. With little experiential data — and even precious little anecdotal information — to apply, the chore of underwriting commercial drone operations will resemble the Wild West in its early days. … General liability insurance is only a part of the story, of course. … In addition to the drone owner/operators, there will be a need for product liability and personal injury/property damage coverage for manufacturers, distributors, data/avionics companies, consultants, and customers entering the UAS market.”
In this article, Jonathan discusses the current uncertainty surrounding the use of drones caused in part because of technology and innovation that has surged beyond the capabilities of the FAA. He suggests that once regulations are established, the industry — for both drones and insurance covering their activities — will flourish.