Hovering Over Opportunities: Zurich Whitepaper on Drone Risks

Zurich (Sept. 28, 2015) – Zurich has released a new insurance product that will help its customers across a range of industries take advantage of the risk mitigation and cost saving opportunities available through the use of Unmanned Aircraft Vehicles (UAV), commonly referred to as “drones.”

Our customers in Canada will be the first to have access to this unique insurance solution, due to Canadian regulations allowing for accelerated use of commercial drones in Canada. Details: Drone Insurance Package.

Whitepaper: “Hovering Over Opportunities

Earlier generations of drones were like early computers; large, rare, expensive and reserved for exclusive use by the military, mainly due to the specialized skills required to operate them. Now, in the same way that improved technology continues to make computers and cell phones smaller, cheaper and easier to use, the use of drones has expanded massively in the civil and commercial sectors thanks to similar advances in technology and accessibility. As these devices become increasingly embedded into the fabric of everyday life, applications for their use will continue to grow, spurred on by increasingly sophisticated functionality and the imagination of those who would make use of them.

Here at Zurich, we are particularly excited about the opportunities drones offer to both our customers and our own loss control specialists to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of a variety of risk management tasks. A drone equipped with just a basic camera is ideally suited to carry out visual inspection, surveillance and reconnaissance chores that might otherwise be tedious, difficult or even dangerous for humans to do. More sophisticated equipment can perform detailed mapping tasks, support agricultural applications such as fertilizer delivery, or “sniff” for various chemicals or gases and even radiation.

Like many new technologies that have started to gain widespread public acceptance in recent years, users may be tempted to rush in and seize the benefits offered at the expense of gaining a full appreciation of the new risks the technology may introduce. In the case of drones, the overarching risk is a lack of understanding that operating a drone is a serious aviation activity, which requires training, staffing and operational procedures that may lie outside an organization’s core competencies.

One of our aims at Zurich is to support our customers that want to embrace new and emerging technologies in their businesses by helping companies understand and protect themselves from the risks that these technologies create. In line with this goal, this white paper was created to serve as a conversation starter for insurance brokers, risk managers and chief financial officers interested in exploring risk mitigation strategies with drones. The fast-evolving nature of this technology means that the drone-related risks outlined here, along with the recommendations for mitigating them, are by no means comprehensive. Finding the right solution for a particular organization will require a thorough analysis of the exposures to be managed and different strategies for doing so. Drones are just another tool in the rapidly-growing technology toolbox. But for organizations that proactively manage and embrace new technologies, drones can be a very powerful tool.


In the relatively brief space of a little over a decade, drones have moved from the realm of an expensive novelty used almost exclusively by the military to become a highly commercialized and easily accessible commodity. The rapid growth of the technology has forced regulators around the world to try and keep pace with the demands of those looking to make use of UAVs, while still fulfilling their duty to protect public safety. Companies across a wide and growing array of industries have begun to see the many benefits UAVs can provide to their operations, especially in risk management tasks that involve reconnaissance, monitoring and inspection. For many of these companies and industries, operating drones will mean they are engaging in an aviation activity for the first time, something that is likely outside of their core competencies. To achieve the full range of benefits drones can provide, organizations must gain a full appreciation of the risks they are also introducing to their operations when adopting this technology. Adapting basic procedures from the aviation industry and working with companies that can help customers understand and protect themselves from drone risks are critical factors in ensuring that, where opportunities with drones are concerned, the sky’s the limit.

Download the 16-page whitepaper.

About Zurich

Zurich Insurance Group (Zurich) is a leading multi-line insurer that serves its customers in global and local markets. With more than 55,000 employees, it provides a wide range of general insurance and life insurance products and services. Zurich’s customers include individuals, small businesses, and mid-sized and large companies, including multinational corporations, in more than 170 countries. The Group is headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland, where it was founded in 1872. The holding company, Zurich Insurance Group Ltd (ZURN), is listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange and has a level I American Depositary Receipt (ZURVY) program, which is traded over-the-counter on OTCQX. Further information about Zurich is available at www.zurich.com.

Zurich Insurance Company Ltd is licensed as a Canadian branch (Zurich Canada). In Canada, Zurich is focused on developing solutions for medium and large corporations, Canadian-based multinationals, and customers in the technology, transportation, public sector, real estate, construction, manufacturing and management industries. For more information about the products and services it offers, visit www.zurichcanada.com.

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