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Commercial Drone Insurance

Do I Need Commercial Drone Insurance?

Drone insurance is not required by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), doesn’t require insurance for commercial drone operators in the United States. However, drone insurance is something you should seriously consider limiting your risk exposure.

2 Types of Commercial Drone Insurance

There are two basic forms of drone insurance; 1) insurance that protects the actual drone, in case you crash it! 2) insurance that protects you if the drone you are piloting crashes into another person, or their property is damaged.

First, Hull Insurance- Ensure the Actual Drone
“Hull insurance” covers damage to the drone itself. Hull insurance becomes more and more important as the cost of UAV’s – Drones continues to skyrocket. For instance, a Cinema company, Brain Farm, spent nearly $250,000 developing its own drone!

In other words, Hull Insurance provides protection for physical damage to your drone in the event that you crash it!

Second, Liability Insurance

Liability insurance covers damage caused to a third-party by your drone, including bodily injury and property damage. Liability insurance is usually required by companies setting up an in-house operation. Many companies also require service providers to show proof of liability insurance before contracting drone outside services.

The first step: determine if the drone is non-owned or owned by your company.

For non-owned drone operations you should secure a Non-owned UAS liability policy. This type of policy provides contingent third-party liability coverage. UAS liability insurance offers coverage for a third-party bodily injury or property damage claim arising from the use of the drone on your behalf. The drone operator’s policy serves as the primary layer of insurance (the first layer to respond to the claim), while the drone pilot’s insurance will act as an excess layer, providing back-up insurance.

For example, let’s say you hire a drone operator to film for you and the drone crashes, causing a personal injury or property damage to a 3rd party (perhaps a bystander) that sues you for those damages.

For drone pilots who own the drone they are piloting they should seek a Hull and liability policy. This policy provides third party liability coverage (like the non-owned policy), however, it will not be contingent. Your policy will be the first level of protection against a claim.

Aircraft Insurance Policies — claims or suits that arise out of the ownership, maintenance, or use of aircraft are generally excluded under the standard commercial general liability (CGL) forms. Businesses that elect to use private aircraft in their operations must purchase specialty insurance to cover their aircraft liability loss exposure: aircraft liability coverage or stand-alone non-owned aircraft liability and perhaps excess aircraft liability coverage as well. Coverage for third-party aircraft liability is often provided, which also includes hull (physical damage) and medical payments coverages.

Confused by commercial drone insurance and how it should be incorporated into your business? Contact us at the Dunaway Law Group by phone at 480-702-1608 or message us HERE.

* The information provided is informational only, does not constitute legal advice, and will not create an attorney-client or attorney-prospective client relationship.

UAV In Agriculture

  1. BENEFITS OF DRONE USE IN AGRICULTURE

The use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs or drones) in commercial farming is increasingly profitable. UAVs are used in pest control, monitor crop health, and create plans specific to a field. Drones help farmers get the most productivity from every square inch of a farm. When it comes to UAVs, your imagination can go pretty wild in terms of what is possible.

Drone technology can make farmers more efficient by helping them locate problem spots in vast fields or ranchlands. Increased efficiency could mean lower costs for consumers and less impact on the environment if farmers used fewer chemicals because drones showed them exactly where to spray. Drones can carry different tools, including high-resolution cameras, infrared sensors and thermal sensors. Ground-penetrating radar could even measure soil conditions.

Compared to traditional fixed wing aircraft, UAVs can fly lower, slower, and hover in place for extended periods of time, all of which enhance the precision, speed, and safety of pesticide application. In fact, studies suggest that pesticide application by a UAV could be up to five times faster than traditional fixed-wing aircraft.4

  1. Aerial Pesticide– The fact that UAVs can operate significantly closer to crops without causing damage, due in part to the lower thrust exerted by a sUAS relative to larger manned aircraft, reduces the concern for drift. 
  1. These benefits may also result in sUASs supplanting uses that have traditionally required hand-application for certain pesticides, reaping farmworker safety benefits currently addressed by the Worker Protection Standards.
  2. UAVs limit the risk of pesticides drifting to non-target areas, potentially poisoning non-resistant neighboring crops or agricultural workers. Drift can be caused by pesticides being released at improper altitudes, at inappropriate ambient temperatures, or with incorrect droplet sizes.28 EPA mandates specific applicator boom length and nozzle size to mitigate drift of certain pesticides. 
  1. Improve Crop Health- Agriculture drones can look at massive fields of crops to scout out where crops are too wet, too dry, too diseased or too infested with pests. 

Essentially, you make a drone map of your field and request the according analysis you need. And the goal of these analyses is to “scan” the field and determine the location and the percentage of problem areas.

There are, for example, analyses that can show you how to spot weed and diseases, identify pest-infested areas and even help you count plants and trees. Besides being drastically faster than traditional measures, drone data analyses offer exact numbers and percentages together with the precise location of healthy and problematic areas.

  1. Topography of Fields–  Allows farmers and agronomists to create an overview of their fields. To let them mark points of interest on their field (such as ponds, or barns) and calculate how large certain areas on their fields are.

    II. CHALLENGES TO IMPLEMENTING A UAV PROGRAM

  1. Old FAA Laws

There are rules and limitations, among others, on operational hours and require registration for UAVs. Some, but not all, of these limitations may be waived by the FAA Administrator. The technology of UASs is moving forward so rapidly that the laws and rules and regulations have been created, the regulations surrounding aerial pesticide application have not yet been updated to accommodate the specific benefits and limitations of UAS use. As a result, a patchwork of exemptions, waivers, and label modifications is currently required for a commercial entity to aerially apply pesticides via UAS.

  1. Burdensome Application Process

Many of the FAA regulations on aerial pesticide application have not been updated in almost half a century and fail to accommodate advancements in technology, especially UAVs.

However, companies can apply for waivers and exemptions from the FAA to use UAVs in a way that will benefit farming.

  1. Part 107 Waivers

The FAA Administrator has the authority to waive some of the limitations placed on UAV use, so long as the Administrator determines that “the proposed [sUAS] operation can safely be conducted under the terms of [the] waiver.” 

Anyone may request a waiver, but their request must include a “complete description of the proposed operation and justification that establishes that the operation can safely be conducted under the terms of the waiver.” 

The FAA says that it “will strive to review and issue decisions on waiver and authorization requests within 90 days”.

  1. Part 11 Exemptions

The FAA can exempt an individual from any FAA regulation by submitting a request for a Part 11 exemption. This pathway, however, is far more burdensome than the Part 107 waiver process as it requires publication in the Federal Register and opportunity for public comment. The FAA requires that the petition be submitted at least 120 days before the petitioner anticipates the exemption is required. Additionally, Part 11 exemptions are typically only valid for 2 years, as opposed to 4 years under a Part 107 waiver. The FAA does, however, provide guidance to individuals seeking a Part 11 exemption and a searchable database called the Automated Exemption System (AES) is accessible to the public.

  1. 333 Exemptions 

As of July 14, 2017, 18 individuals and companies have received a waiver of the § 107.35 limitation to multiple drone operations. DroneSeed’s success demonstrates that the FAA is open to the use of drones as pesticide applicators; however, the current complex approval process serves as a significant barrier to entry for potential competitors.

sUASs as a possibly safer and cheaper substitute for traditional fixed- wing or helicopter/rotocopter aerial applicators. In the meantime, a combination of Section 333 exemptions, Part 107 Waivers, Section 11 exemptions–depending on the size of the UAS–are a viable, albeit expensive and time-consuming, alternative to permit limited use and testing of sUASs for aerial pesticide application in the near future.

There are currently three exemption and waiver processes that a UAS operator would need to navigate to aerially dispense pesticides, depending on the type of UAS used. For UASs over 55 lbs., a Section 333 Exemption is required. This application is more open-ended, has fewer limitations, but is more expensive and takes longer to obtain. For sUASs, a Part 107 waiver may be used. These waivers are cheaper and faster to obtain, but are more limited in the restrictions that may be waived. Finally, Part 11 Exemptions permit relief from a vast array of FAA regulations; however, this process requires full notice and comment for each applicant and requires navigating significantly more regulations. An overview of each of these three processes follows next along with an example of a UAS aerial pesticide applicator that has successfully navigated these regulatory hurdles.

Recently, Yamaha received a Section 333 Exemption to use its UAS, the RMAX, in aerial pesticide application. Because the RMAX weighs in excess of 55 lbs., it is ineligible for the Section 107 sUAS rules and must use the Section 333 Exemption. 

III.     VALE LA PENA- IT’S WORTH THE COST 

Having an agricultural UAS drone program far outweighs the cost and hassle of setting it up. Let the Dunaway Law Group remove the stress and confusion of setting up a drone program. Please contact us by phone at: 480-702- or message us HERE.

* The information provided is informational only, does not constitute legal advice, and will not create an attorney-client or attorney-prospective client relationship.

Well Registration Number

All water wells in Arizona are assigned a Well Registry Number from the Arizona Department of Water Resources (ADWR). A Well Registry Number is similar to a Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). There is a single Well Registry Number that is assigned to a particular well. Each registration number begins with “55-” and is followed by six numerical digits.

The Well Registry Number will not change even if the ownership of the well changes or the parcel where the well is located changes parcel numbers.

The Arizona Groundwater Management Act of 1980 mandates that all property owners register their water wells with the ADWR. Additionally, property owners are required to keep ownership information current with the Department.

However, many properties are sold and transferred without informing the ADWR that there was a change in ownership.

how to verify well ownership with the adwr

Verify the well ownership information by visiting the ADWR HERE. You can search by using the Well Registry Number, Property Owner Name Search of Location (Township/Range, Parcel, Cadastral, Basin or Subbasin).

If you need help from an experienced Arizona attorney, then contact the Dunaway Law Group at 480-702-1608 or message us HERE. * The information provided is informational only, does not constitute legal advice, and will not create an attorney-client or attorney-prospective client relationship. Additionally, the Dunaway Law Group, PLC limits its practice to the State of Arizona.