The NIC’s drone insurance policy is gaining traction.

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With the rise in sales of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or remotely piloted aerial systems, the National Insurance Co (NICdrone )’s insurance coverage, the first of its kind from a public sector general insurer, is gaining popularity in the market.

Ashok Kumar Lahuty, the GM of the PSU insurer’s NIC (appointed actuary and chief risk officer), informed TOI that the company had already written some drone policies. Furthermore, it is receiving numerous ideas and inquiries in this area. Agriculture, training, BVLOS, survey and mapping, aerospace and materology, and aerial photography are among the sectors where it has produced policies. “It’s going to be a massive market,” Lahuty predicted.

Drones can be key creators of employment and economic growth, according to The Drone Rules, 2021, due to their reach, variety, and ease of usage, especially in India’s remote and inaccessible areas. “By 2030, India has the potential to become a worldwide drone centre,” it stated.

Drones are classified into five categories based on their weight: nano (less than 250 g), micro (250 g to 2 kg), small (2-25 kg), medium (25-150 kg), and giant (more than 150 kilogramme) (over 150 kg). A licenced pilot and a permission from the Director General of Civil Aviation are required for all drones except nano (DGCA). The constraints on altitude and speed vary by category.

The price of a drone is determined by its intended use and capabilities. A drone used to spray pesticides in agriculture can cost anywhere between Rs 5 lakh and Rs 10 lakh; a survey-mapping drone can cost anywhere between Rs 8 lakh and Rs 12 lakh; and defence drones can cost anywhere between Rs 5 lakh and Rs 1 crore, depending on features and endurance.

According to Lahuty, around 29,500 drones have now been registered in the country, as the government has begun to develop a database of such unmanned flying devices in order to keep track of them. Drones are mostly used by the government for agricultural and other critical item distribution in rural areas, as well as for defence.

The National Drone Insurance Policy (Commercial), he claims, covers a unique risk linked with drone use. “This product shall provide cover against accident and theft resulting in hull damage, third-party responsibility, personal injury, and operator’s hospitalisation, as designed in accordance with the particular nature and working conditions.”

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