VANCOUVER, BC — If drones are the future, aerial photography and cinematography is currently leading the way. Data released by Shaw Sabey and Associates Ltd. out of Vancouver show that in over half the signed applications received for drone insurance quotes across Canada, commercial users declared photo and filming purposes as the insured business activity.

While most of the quotes provided were to cover commercial drone activity, only 18 per cent were from pilots who were using their UAV for non-commercial, or hobby purposes.

“As an emerging market, drones have only begun to realize their full potential,” says Shaw Sabey Vice President Digital Strategy Jeffrey McCann. “Clearly, drones are being taken advantage of primarily for their capacity to capture visuals otherwise only attainable through highly expensive means, or not at all – pointing out the new opportunities of this technology.”

Currently, there are two barriers to legally flying a drone commercially, according to Transport Canada’s regulations. The first is a minimum of $100,000 worth of liability insurance. The second is a special flight permit issued by the agency.

“Although hobby drone insurance isn’t mandated by government, every day in the news we are seeing examples of the risks of hobby flying, for instance interfering with wildfire fighting and injuries that have occurred by these seemingly innocuous toys,” says McCann.

Transport Canada’s know before you fly informational campaign is becoming increasingly important, as it encourages drone users to educate themselves before they fly.

This data was made easily accessible because of Shaw Sabey’s digital insurance team, which collects applications for coverage through a secure online process, and has taken a role in supporting education in the drone community.

There’s a large misconception that a homeowner’s or commercial general liability policy will extend to flying your drone. “Aviation is a standard exclusion in most homeowner’s and business policies, and there is going to be a continual learning curve as this market evolves for both the insurance industry and drone pilots,” says McCann.