India’s insurance regulator, the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority on Wednesday formed a working group to look into and make recommendations for insurance of drones. The group consists of members from the regulator, as well as from public and private sector insurance and reinsurance companies such as SBI General Insurance and Tata AIG. The group is being headed by Anjan Dey, general manager of the New India Assurance, a public sector insurance company.

Tasks of the working group: The group has until 6 weeks to submit a report encompassing various aspects of drone insurance, including:

  • Study and understand the insurance needs of drone owners and operators
  • Make recommendations about the kind of insurance products that can meet the needs of drone owners and operators, including third-party liability
  • Make recommendations relating to the underwriting of such risks including the re-insurance perspective.

Composition of the working group: There are 9 people in the group, including a chairman, seven members, and one convenor:

  • Anjan Dey, general manager, The New India Assurance (Chairman)
  • Arthi Mathur, general manager, Oriental Insurance Company (Member)
  • Savio Fernandes, deputy general manager, General Insurance Corporation of India (Member)
  • S Vishwanathan, head of commercial lines underwriting, SBI General Insurance (Member)
  • Diptanshookumar, deputy Vice President, Tata AIG (Member)
  • TA Ramalingam, chief technical officer, Bajaj Allianz (Member)
  • C Latha, IRDAI (Member)
  • Mukesh Kewalramani, IRDAI (Member)
  • Ajay Kumar, IRDAI (Convenor)

“Drones are emerging as one of the fastest-growing technologies and are being used for a variety of purposes. Their numbers are growing rapidly. Drones are playing a significant role in the current COVID 19 situation, assisting various authorities in several activities. There is an immediate need to make available suitable insurance products covering the various risks involved in the use of Drones,” Yegnapriya Bharath, CGM (Non-Life), IRDAI, said in an order.

The COVID-19 crisis has resulted in increased adoption of drones after they were deployed in multiple states, such as Delhi, Maharashtra, Kerala, Telangana, and Punjab, for surveillance and containment activities. HDFC Ergo recently launched a dedicated drone insurance product, but that remains the only product specifically developed for drone liability cover so far.

Draft drone rules, published earlier this month, also propose to mandate insurance cover for drones to be eligible to operate. The draft says that no drone can be operated in India without having a valid third party insurance policy to cover the liability that may arise during mishaps, causing death or bodily injury to any person or damage to property.

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