Hong Kong proposes tough rules on drones, opens up insurance market

Upcoming regulations may require registration, training, and insurance to make drone flying safer

Hong Kong proposes tough rules on drones, opens up insurance market

Insurance News

By Gabriel Olano

Hong Kong’s new rules for drones may include insurance for certain craft, after an international aviation organisation highlighted risks.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA), a global trade organisation for airlines, recently urged governments to take steps to curb reckless flying of recreational drones. The call came after several collisions and near-misses between drones and passenger aircraft.

In response to IATA’s call, Hong Kong’s legislators consulted with the Civil Aviation Department in order to update laws regarding the use of unmanned aircraft, the South China Morning Post reported. Some of the suggestions include making registration of drones mandatory, as well as requiring users to undergo training and take out insurance to make operation safer.

According to the proposed regulations, all drones weighing between 250g and 7kg must be registered with authorities. Meanwhile, those that exceed 7kg must be inspected and insured to protect against flight risks.

A public consultation will be held in the first quarter of 2018.

“I certainly support the direction of this paper,” Jeremy Tam Man-ho, member of the Legislative Council’s panel for economic development, told SCMP. “As we know, drones have been a serious threat to the aviation industry and the general public in a few cases in Hong Kong and in fact worldwide, and we need some kind of regulation.”

However, Tam also recognised the benefits of drones, and added that regulations must find the middle ground between safety and allowing drone use for a wide range of recreational and research purposes.

If the proposed regulations are enacted, a market for insuring drones will open up in Hong Kong, with other Asian markets to follow. Last year, Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty predicted that the value of the global drone insurance market would exceed US$1 billion by 2020.

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