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Drone privacy issues concern risk managers

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The potential for invasion of privacy when using drones remains the top concern for a majority of risk managers, according to a Munich Reinsurance America Inc. survey released Wednesday.

Munich Re America said that 61% of the risk managers polled name invasion of privacy as their biggest concern regarding the use of drones. Other concerns included inadequate insurance, personal injury and property damage.
 
In August 2016, the Federal Aviation Administration issued operational rules that would allow for commercial use of unmanned aircraft systems, or drones, in U.S. airspace for operators who complete a certification process. The FAA anticipates commercial drone sales to reach 2.7 million by 2020, Munich Re America said.

Sixty-two percent of risk managers surveyed said they expect commercial drone usage to become common practice for businesses in less than five years, up from the 37% who said so in 2015. Eleven percent of respondents consider drone usage already a common practice. 

Since approval of the FAA’s new operational rules last year, 46% risk managers said they would consider or explore the use of drones within their own businesses, and 7% are already using drones to conduct business. 

“New FAA regulations have encouraged the commercial use of drones across a broad spectrum of industries,” Tim Brockett, senior vice president of the reinsurance division for Munich Re US, said in a statement, “and more companies and public entities are exploring new, safe and cost-effective ways to use drone technology. However, they may be at risk since most commercial insurance policies don’t cover or offer very limited liability protection for drones.”

The on-site, in-person survey of 100 risk managers was conducted at the Risk & Insurance Management Society Inc.’s annual conference in Philadelphia in April.