Insuring UAS Operations

Verifly is democratizing insurance for the UAS industry with an app that enables drone pilots to buy insurance with two taps.
By Patrick C. Miller | August 18, 2016

In the 1975 movie “Love and Death,” Woody Allen’s character Boris—a Russian citizen who hatches a plot to kill Napoleon—observes that some aspects of life are worse than death.

“If you've ever spent an evening with an insurance salesman, you know exactly what I mean,” he relates.

My attitude toward insurance salesman and insurance was once similar. But the older I got, the more I came to understand the importance of insurance. Experience often helps people outgrow the “What could possibly go wrong?” mindset of youth.

Thus, when I hear people propose ideas for things they want to do with unmanned aircraft systems—both as hobbyists and commercial operators—one of my first thoughts often is: I hope you have good insurance.

Yet when it comes to insurance in relation to the UAS industry, it remains one the more “un-sexy” topics of discussion—even though it’s a key factor in commercializing drone operations. That’s why it was refreshing to talk to Jay Bregman, CEO and co-founder of Verifly, which last week released an app that enables drone pilots to buy insurance with two taps.

Before starting Verifly, Bregman was involved in successful a taxi hailing app in London called Hailo and in eCourier, an automated same-day delivery company that’s now part of Royal Mail in the United Kingdom. Bregman is truly excited about providing insurance to drone pilots almost instantly.

“This is democratizing insurance in a way that’s fiscally sound,” he explained. “It’s allowing people to purchase insurance in the way that they want at a price that’s affordable to them whether they are recreational or commercial users. They don’t have to deal with an annual policy if they don’t want to because it doesn’t fit their needs. And it’s a product that’s specifically flexible in terms of what it offers rather than a one size fits all.”

I asked him what it was like going from the same-day delivery business to the taxi-hailing business to the drone insurance business.

“It’s been a very interesting 18-month boot camp on insurance regulation in the U.S. and abroad, but it’s actually been fascinating,” he replied. “It really reminds me a lot of learning about the taxi industry when I was starting Hailo and knew nothing about the taxis in London. The more you find out as an outsider, the more you realize there’s substantial room for improvement.”

Verifly is in its early stages and Bregman expects that future releases of the software will make it even more flexible for end users, whether they’re flying recreationally or commercially. The key takeaway for drone pilots is that they no longer have a reason to fly without insurance. And the best part is that you don’t have to spend an evening with an insurance salesman to get it.