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Starr, Skywatch Partner on Usage-Based, Telematics-Driven Insurance for Drones

March 28, 2018

Starr Companies said it will partner with risk analytics company SkyWatch to provide usage-based, telematics-driven insurance for the drone industry.

Their deal will let drone operators obtain insurance on demand for an individual flight, though the cost can be reduced with telematics over time, according to the deal announcement. With the new coverage, Starr gets to expand its existing drone insurance offerings.

Steve Blakey, president and CEO of Starr Insurance Holdings Inc., said in prepared remarks that the SkyWatch technology lets qualified drone operators get “quality insurance coverage, which is essential for any business.”

SkyWatch’s mobile application is available by invite on iOS and Android for both business and recreational drone operators, and it connects to many kinds of drones. According to the company, it allows for the collection of telemetry data from the drone itself, including location, height and speed battery, plus external data such as weather, no-fly zones and crowds in flight area. That data is then applied to create a risk score for each specific flight.

Once that score is in hand, it can be used to set an industry benchmark for operators, helping them to be more aware of how they fly. The idea is that they can improve their score over time as they practice flying their drones more safely. Qualified operators can buy insurance based, in part, on the safety score.

Starr isn’t the only company to offer on-demand drone insurance. Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty partnered with InsurTech startup Flock last year to launch the product in the U.K. In late 2016, startup Verifly launched to provide on-demand drone insurance via the company’s app. Both offer coverage for commercial and recreational users.

Starr Companies, based in New York, offers property, casualty, accident and health insurance coverage plus specialty coverages in areas including aviation, marine, energy and excess casualty insurance. SkyWatch is located in Palo Alto, Calif.

Source: Starr Companies/SkyWatch

Ji Park