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Drone industry growth threatened by cyber, human error and privacy concerns: Lloyd’s

Cyber-attacks, reckless pilots and privacy breaches are fundamental threats to the drone industry, warns a new report published by Lloyd’s, the specialist insurance and reinsurance market.


The drones sector is a dynamic and important component of the global aviation industry, with global expenditure on acquisition expected to double to $91bn in the ten years to 2024. However, concerns around safety, security and surveillance need to be considered by manufacturers and users of this technology, says Lloyd’s new report, Drones Take Flight.

The study highlights five fundamental risks that it says could harm the sector’s future growth.

Of these, privacy infringement is cited as the biggest most significant concern as well as the carelessness of drone operators and the vulnerability of the drones themselves to cyber-attacks.

Another key concern highlighted in the report is the regulatory environment, which is developing but is not yet harmonised across international jurisdictions. In addition, because of the rapid and uneven growth of the drones industry, it is proving difficult for regulators to provide strong rigorous oversight without technological support to track and monitor use.

Effective airspace control and collision avoidance technology, the report contends, will be key requirements for the insurance of drones operating in busy airspace.

As a result, insurers are likely to seek greater risk mitigation measures from drone operators. These could include training and accreditation, strengthening cyber security and the completion of privacy impact assessments.

Commenting on the report, Nick Beecroft, Lloyd’s Manager of Emerging Risk & Research, said:

“Drones have significant potential but at the same time they are a controversial emerging technology. As the market for drones continues to grow, so does the interaction of risk exposures. Manufacturers, operators and regulators will need to work together, on a global basis, to understand exposures and ensure this technology is used safely and responsibly.”

The full report can be downloaded at

Notes to editors:

  • Civil and commercial use of drones is growing and meeting an expanding range of applications from agriculture, public services, logistics, wildlife protection, media, research, infrastructure and utilities.
  • Standard drone insurance programmes can cover third party liability (compulsory in the EU for drones that weight more than 20kg), physical loss and damage to the system components during operation or transit.
  • These policies can be tailored to suit individual exposures and may also include Directors’ and Officers’ liability, professional indemnity, employers’ liability, product liability, cargo liability, terrorism, war and hijacking.

About Lloyd’s
Lloyd’s is the world’s only specialist insurance and reinsurance market, offering a unique concentration of expertise and talent, backed by strong financial ratings and benefitting from numerous international licences. It is often the first to insure new, unusual or complex risks, providing innovative insurance solutions for local, cross border and global risks. Its strength lies in the diversity and expertise of the brokers and managing agents working at Lloyd’s, supported by capital from across the world.

In 2015, more than 90 syndicates are underwriting insurance and reinsurance at Lloyd’s, covering all lines of business from more than 200 countries and territories worldwide. Lloyd’s is regulated by the Prudential Regulatory Authority and Financial Conduct Authority.

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