Flock, a government-backed drone insurance startup, has unlocked its ‘pay-as-you-fly’ insurance and safety smartphone app (Flock Cover) to recreational drone pilots. Up until now, the Flock Cover app has been available to commercial and training pilots in the UK, of which over 1,000 have registered on the platform since it launched in December. Now those who fly drones as a hobby can also use the mobile app to receive a real-time risk report for their flight, and purchase on-demand Public Liability Insurance, underwritten by Allianz, from just £3.
Flock’s new product announcement is timely: drone sales for recreational purposes are continuing to soar, with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) estimating that over 1.5 million units were sold in the UK over the 2017 Christmas period alone. Drones have become increasingly affordable and are fast becoming a regular sight in parks, beaches, and sports events. However, despite becoming smarter and safer, drones still have the potential to inflict serious damage to people, property, and other aircraft. Beyond safety, there are also growing privacy and noise concerns, with police forces across the UK receiving over 4,500 complaints about drone-related activities in 2017.
Ed Leon Klinger, CEO of Flock commented: “Understanding the risks associated with drone flying is vitally important. Flock Cover is the first pay-as-you-go insurance product that allows any type of pilot to insure their flight for the price of a coffee. And Flock’s dynamic risk map allows pilots to easily understand their surrounding environment, too.” He added: “With over 1,000 commercial users on the platform already, we couldn’t be happier to be opening Flock Cover up to to the general public alongside some brilliant partners in the drone industry.”
Antton Peña, Flock’s Head of Product, said “Insurance shouldn’t be confusing or arduous. It should be simple and fair. That’s what we’ve achieved with Flock Cover.”
Flock’s recreational drone insurance offers peace of mind at the touch of a button. In under one minute, a pilot using the Flock Cover app can be covered for as little as an hour of flight time, with a policy that offers up to £250,000 of Public Liability Insurance. Each policy is customised to the individual flight, with the pilot selecting their drone model and flight area (a 500m radius circle). A risk-dependent quote is then instantly generated by Flock’s proprietary algorithms, which analyse the pilot’s risk profile alongside real-time and geospatial data within the selected flight area. The Flock Cover app incentivises lower-risk flights with cheaper insurance policies, and makes this insight completely visible to pilots, who can use Flock’s Flight Planning tool to see when and where it’s safest to fly their drones within a 10-day period.
Improving drone safety is central to Flock’s mission, and this has driven the company to make the factors that help to determine policy prices transparent to their users. A detailed risk-report is generated for each flight; displaying real-time information such as hyperlocal weather conditions, temporary restricted airspaces, and nearby airports. The latter is particularly poignant, as the UK Airprox Board recently announced that the number of near misses between drones and aircraft more than tripled between 2015 and 2017, with a total of 92 incidents reported last year.
Flock is also promoting awareness of the CAA’s Drone Code to every user of the app. Prior to take-off, a visual slideshow illustrating the six Drone Code rules is displayed, educating pilots about how to fly safely and legally. Jonathan Nicholson, the CAA’s Assistant Director of Communications, welcomed this digital integration, commenting:
“We absolutely welcome Flock’s promotion of the Drone Code as it’s vital that drone users are aware of the safety rules. Drones have amazing potential but for that to be realised we need everyone flying a drone to follow the simple safety rules.”
Flock is now working closely with its insurance partner Allianz to distribute its on-demand drone insurance to pilots across Europe. Flock is also delighted to have partnered with several key commercial and recreational drone retailers across the UK, including; BuzzFlyer, Coptrz, Make It Build It, and Quadcopters.