The recent drone incident that resulted in unprecedented severe disruption at Gatwick Airport (and to a lesser degree at Heathrow) has already prompted a change in the legislation regarding the flying of such devices. The Police will now be given new powers to tackle the illegal use of drones including the ability to land drones, the right to request users produce the appropriate documentation and ultimately to seize drones and the filmed content stored on any equipment. The area around airports where drones are banned from flying will also be extended, and from 30 November operators of drones between 250g and 20kg will need to be registered (previously only applicable to commercial drone operators).
Standard production insurance policies exclude any cover for filming using drones or unmanned aerial vehicles so it is essential that production companies always ensure drone operators engaged to film aerial content are fully insured under a Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) compliant policy and that a copy of the insurance is retained for your records.
Commercial drone operators are of course obliged to be licensed and already follow strict guidelines, with minimum training hours, operational restrictions and a requirement for minimum levels of insurance. However, without checking the drone operator carries specific insurance cover, production companies could potentially be exposed to claims arising from the following circumstances:
- A drone malfunctions whilst being operated and falls causing severe injury to a member of the public who was in the vicinity of the shoot location
- Following filming, a member of the public alleges their privacy has been breached during filming as consent had not been given to film over their property
- Damage caused to the expensive camera and lenses whilst in use may not be covered
For more advice on drone insurance or for an indicative premium for CAA compliant drone cover please contact us on 01638 675993.