Urban air operations

What should an insurer do with drones

Friday, 17 March 2023

Insurance company Achmea is at first sight a strange partner of Amsterdam Drone Week. After all, what should an insurer do with drones? “A lot”, says Innovation Manager Jeroen Bartelse. “As an insurance company we are really interested in drone development because it changes so much. Do we want to insure flying cars for example? Or buildings that host a drone landing platform?”  

“These are exciting times,” says Bartelse.“I believe in two years time the first passenger drone flights will take place and then you need infrastructure and then I think it'll grow massively. So I expect a lot of developments everywhere in the world. The first tests will take place in Paris in 2024.” 
“If it works in Paris, it can work in Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Utrecht or Schiphol as well.”, Bartelse continues. “Air taxis will be an additional way of transport. So it's not that people no longer take the train or are going to fly, but there will be this whole new level of transportation which will take place in the skies. If I have to choose between standing in a traffic jam or flying to Schiphol with a drone, I know the answer.”


“What the infrastructure will look like still needs to be figured out. Do cars fly next to or above each other? Where can they land? Drones will probably soon fly from roof to roof. In England there are already parties that buy up roofs. We keep an eye on this development, because if the roof of a building that we insure is used for another purpose, we must of course be aware of that.”
“In cities UAM needs to be integrated with traditional air traffic. And for that you need lots and lots of parties working together in order to make this happen. And that's why Achmea wants to be part of this industry. Because in the end you are probably only allowed to fly a drone if you are insured.”
Although that does not mean that it is self-evident that Achmea will insure drones. “That depends on how you see such a machine. Is it a small plane or is it a flying car? In the first case we will not insure them, in the second case - and that's how I look at it now - we will. Just like we now also insure cars.”

The same applies to the places where drones take off and land: vertiports. Bartelse: “When they are realized on the roof of an existing building, this means something for the insurance of such a building. Because the risks are increasing. But we do not yet know whether that should be a separate insurance or whether it will be integrated into existing insurance policies. This requires a lot of cooperation between many different parties. But to be able to determine a position and roll out a strategy, you have to be there on time. That is the main reason for Achmea to be a partner of Amsterdam Drone Week.”


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