Insurance Advisory Group Updates Rules Covering Use of Drones in Agriculture

The American Association of Insurance Services (AAIS), the only not-for-profit national insurance advisory organization, announced new filings of Unmanned Aircraft Liability Coverage forms and rules in its Agricultural General Liability (AgGL) Program, in response to consumer demand for coverage for unmanned aircraft, or “drones.” AAIS also filed a new Personal & Advertising Injury Liability Aircraft Exclusion created to address new liability exposures associated with this nascent technology.

Currently, the new AgGL Unmanned Aircraft Coverage endorsements are approved in 34 states.

The new AAIS endorsements were created in anticipation of the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) long-awaited final regulations for small commercial unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) – those weighing less than 55 lb. The new regulations were published June 21, 2016, and will become effective Aug. 29, 2016. The economic impact of this ruling is expected to be first felt in farm and agricultural businesses as it is the fastest-growing commercial sector using drones.

AAIS leads the national Property & Casualty insurance advisory industry in providing two specialized AgGL products: one to meet the needs of large farms, and one for commercial agricultural exposures. The AgGL Program includes coverage of more than 300 expert classes; thus, writing a separate commercial general liability policy is not necessary with the AAIS coverage forms.

UAS is expected to revolutionize American farming and agricultural operations through increased commodity production. Drones can monitor livestock and increase crop yields by identifying specific regions of irrigation problems, insect infestations and other exposures that previously devastated operations. Using a specialized camera attached to the drone, infrared maps produce measurable data, photographs and valuable insights improving business production. The soon-to-be-effective FAA regulations for small UAS allow farm/agricultural operations to monitor from a maximum of 400 ft.

AAIS will soon be releasing additional forms and rules for drones, including:

  • New Farmowners Filing of Unmanned Aircraft Liability Coverage forms and rules, and new aircraft exclusions under personal injury and personal and advertising injury liability.
  • Unmanned aircraft forms for Farm Umbrella (personal and commercial) as well as Agricultural Umbrella Liability coverage forms.

Leslie Rippley, AAIS vice president of commercial lines, farm and agribusiness, noted that AAIS recognizes the high consumer demand for drone usage in conducting farming and agricultural operations.

“As an industry leader in the farming and agriculture sector, we anticipated the need our members would have, and their demand has been great,” Rippley said. “Thus, our first filing for Agricultural General Liability Unmanned Aircraft coverage offers large commercial farm and agricultural operations a solution tailored to their more complex exposures.”

Under the new FAA rules, a person operating a small unmanned aircraft must either hold a remote pilot airman certificate with a small unmanned aircraft rating or be under the direct supervision of a person who does hold a remote pilot certificate. A licensed pilot may obtain a temporary remote pilot certificate immediately upon submission of the application.

To obtain a remote pilot certificate, a person must:

  • Demonstrate aeronautical knowledge by passing an initial aeronautical knowledge test;
  • Be ng vetted by the Transportation Security Administration, and
  • Be at least 16 years old.

Source: AgriMarketing

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