The software that will now be accessible to the broker’s customers can reduce the likelihood of accidents and therefore claims 

A specialist drone broker, Moonrock Insurance (Moonrock) has partnered with software provider Consortiq to enable safer and scalable flying.

The partnership will see Consortiq offer all Moonrock’s commercial drone pilot customers access to CQNet – a flight planning management system.

Both firms share a joint goal of promoting safer drone flying. The platform claims to enable safer and more scalable flying operations, and the software providers technology allows the entire drone operation to be seen.

Underwritten by Hiscox, the drone insurance specialist has provided commercial drone cover since February 2016. Last August, Moonrock began wholesaling its drone insurance policy to other brokers.

Simon Ritterband_Moonrock

Simon Ritterband, managing director at Moonrock Insurance 

Market maturing

Simon Ritterband, Moonrock managing director and founder, told Insurance Times: “As the market is now starting to mature, we are seeing a large increase in organisations carrying out the drone work themselves, as opposed to contracting-in drone pilots for specific jobs.

“With this comes scalability and the need to manage and maintain a large number of flights, the Consortiq technology allows businesses to oversee their entire drone operation.”

Ritterband previously worked in the property sector and saw a potential opportunity when his builder turned up with a drone to get a closer look at some roofing issues that he was having.

This prompted Ritterband to get a commercial pilot’s licence.

Safety first

Safety has been on the agenda recently following flights being cancelled due to drone sightings at Gatwick Airport last December.

It led to drones being banned within 5km of Gatwick Airport as well as all UK airports. It is illegal to fly them within this zone.

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) also has various regulations in place such as:

  • Keeping your drone within sight
  • Fly drones below 400ft (120m) to avoid collision with an aircraft
  • Observe your drone at all times – stay 150ft (approximately 50m) away from people and property
  • Never fly near an aircraft
  • Enjoy drone flying responsibly

Ritterband explained that “for any business to thrive within this nascent industry, safety is of paramount importance.”

“A media spotlight has been shone on the drone market with the government and public looking closely to ensure everything is being done to help mitigate risk.”

He added that the benefits drones can bring to any industry and society in general, will only be fully accepted if flights are carried out to the highest standard.

Goldman Sachs predicted that $13bn will be spent on drones by 2020 in the commercial and civil market.

What can it do?

The software claims to be able to reduce the likelihood of an accident while its scalability allows a business to oversee the entire drone operation in a singular seamless application.

This includes monitoring pilot activities, flight plans, procedural checks and updated airspace intelligence which helps meet industry regulations and maintain drone safety within the guidelines of the law.

When asked why Moonrock chose to partner with Consortiq, Ritterband explained: “There are a number of drone technology platforms on the market, each only really providing one service at a time. Consortiq have created a platform that provides all services in one easy-to-use place.”

Ritterband claims that Moonrock is “the first drone insurer” to offer access to a package like CQNet which controls safety aspects of commercial drone flying while encouraging proper procedures like flight planning.

“We think it is a major leap forward for commercial drone use, not just for the pilots themselves but also – as with telematics in cars – providing insurers with access to rich data, to model and better understand the risk profile of individuals and the wider flying community.”

Geoff Pugh, UK general manager at Consortiq, added: “CQNet is designed to help make drone flying safer for pilots whilst offering organisations the ability to better manage the compliance and operational aspects of their drone operations.”