Insurance confusion grounds drone

Insurance confusion grounds drone | Insurance Business America

Insurance confusion grounds drone
The officials of Moody County, South Dakota, are looking at how to best utilize drone technology to help both law enforcement and emergency responses in the region – if only they could get past the insurance costs involved with operating such hardware.

Both the local police and emergency responders discussed the value of having a county-use drone during the most recent Moody County Commission meeting on October 03, reported Moody County Enterprise.

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“There’s three times [a drone] would have saved a lot of hassle,” said Sheriff Troy Wellman at the meeting, noting that a drone could help track down suspects or determine if the suspect is armed, reduce the manpower needed during a search, and could prevent injury claims as first responders navigate through treacherous terrain.

Emergency management director Terry Albers pointed out how expensive these drones can get – as much as $2,000 per unit. Optional equipment such as thermal imaging and night vision would cost an additional $13,000 or more.

Regardless of the costs, however, Albers also raised the issue of who gets to pay for the drone’s insurance.

“Somebody’s got to be in charge. Somebody’s got to cover it with insurance,” Albers said, pointing out that the cost of insuring a drone could reach up to $1,800 a year.

County commission assistant Marty Skroch, who had been researching drone insurance plans, found that a county policy would only cover county use of the drone. A fire or police department would have to secure its own insurance policy for use of a drone.

Albers added that insurers are still trying to wrap their heads around how to charge for new and upcoming drone technology.

“They don’t have enough knowledge about them,” he said. “It’s just too new.”

Commissioners said that it would continue to look into the use of drones, as well as the insurance costs involved and ways to allow other entities to use the hardware.

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