Friday, December 30, 2016

Getting a Drone as a Gift? Check Your Insurance; New York Times, 12/14/16

Ann Carrns, New York Times; 

Getting a Drone as a Gift? Check Your Insurance:

[Kip Currier: Amazon is getting buzz this week with widely-reported coverage of the ever-experimenting online retailer's 2016 patent for floating warehouse blimps--or in Amazon's own words "airborne fulfillment centers (AFCs)". AFCs would, in theory, serve as "motherships" for worker bee drones to transport purchased goods directly to Amazon customers.

Joanne Lipman, chief content officer for Gannett, predicts that though some crystal ball gazers declared 2016 as the year drones would take off and be the new "it" thing, 2017 will be "The Year of the Drone, Really".

Earlier this month I did a very informative American Bar Association (ABA) Continuing Legal Education (CLE) webinar, "U.S. Drone Law: Current Status, Future Direction", through the ABA Intellectual Property Law section. A panel of practitioners with drone expertise highlighted key cases (e.g. the so-called "Drone Slayer" case), current legal issues, and liability concerns for emerging drone technologies. (Aside: in addition to legal issues, drones implicate a whole slew of information ethics issues; most notably, privacy.)

The article excerpted below sheds useful light on insurance issues regarding drone ownership and usage, something most of us probably have not considered, but absolutely should know more about. Especially considering how many people gifted and received drones as holiday gifts this year! (See Drone sales soaring this Christmas, capping a record year for the industry)]

"MANY people will receive drones as gifts this holiday season. But before heading to the nearest field to fly the devices, recipients may want to check their insurance coverage.

“I’m sure there will be a lot of drones given as Christmas gifts, and we’ll start to see more drone-related claims,” said Chris Hackett, the senior director for personal lines at the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America, an industry group."

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