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Insurers poised to support development of Civil Aviation Drones

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Chris Jones

Chris Jones

IUA calls for harmonised approach to EU regulation

The emerging market for civil aviation drones represents a tremendous opportunity, both for the insurance community and the wider business world, the International Underwriting Association has stated. Further growth of such technology could be stimulated if the EU amended safety legislation and provided information on the current use and losses of drones.

Responding to an EU consultation on opening up the market for remotely piloted aircraft systems, the IUA said its member companies have seen a marked increase in the number of insurance enquiries for such machines.

“The vast majority of insurance exposure for civil aviation drones is currently within the policies held by larger manufacturers with only limited standalone cover, ” commented Chris Jones, the association’s Director of Market Services. “It is still a relatively immature class of aviation insurance, but underwriters certainly see commercial uses for such aircraft across a wide range of activities and business sectors.

“Though drones present new challenges in terms of safety, security and privacy, these issues can be assessed, mitigated and managed. The insurance industry can play a central role here, ensuring that there is sufficient cover to meet operators’ demands.”

In its written response to the EU consultation the IUA called for safety legislation to cover all civil drones regardless of weight, but only where proportional to the risk posed.

The association also stated that it would be of great benefit to insurers to have access both at EU and national levels to statistics on the number of such craft in use, their various uses and any available loss data. This would help underwriters accurately assess liability risks and provide the most suitable cover for operators and manufacturers.

Chris Jones, added: “Though there is some uniformity across the EU in the authorities’ approach to drones, regulation, licensing and safety requirements remain fragmented. The liability framework is also unclear. A harmonised approach to these issues would be beneficial to insurers by creating legal certainty.

“The EU and national authorities need to look further into a potential licensing mechanisms for civil drones. Without this it could be difficult to identify operators and pursue potential liability claims against them, especially if they reside outside the EU.”

About the IUA

The International Underwriting Association of London (IUA) represents international and wholesale insurance and reinsurance companies operating in or through London. It exists to promote and enhance the business environment for its members.


The IUA’s London Company Market Statistics Report shows that premium income for the company market in 2013 was £17.445bn with a further £6.831bn controlled by London but written elsewhere. These results are based on a comprehensive survey of 57 companies and combined give an overall intellectual and economic premium total of £24.276bn for the London company market.

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