Verifly, the first on-demand drone insurance company, on Monday launched a new app in a market that is ripe for innovation and competition — both in Nevada and nationally.
“You open the app, it draws a quarter-mile circle around you, and that’s the coverage area,” said Verifly co-founder Jay Bregman. “It calculates the risks in that coverage area, and also environmental risks like wind. It gives you an instant quoted price starting at $10 an hour, and you put in a credit card. Then, in two taps, you bought a million-dollar insurance policy.
Rajat Jain, the property and casualty section chief at the Nevada Division of Insurance, said while more insurance companies are trying to offer drone insurance, they are taking a cautious approach.
“We are still not seeing fully fledged coverage for all the risk that the drones may represent,” Jain said. “The insurance industry is assessing the risk and trying to figure out, as more information becomes available and the technology changes, how to assess that risk and how to accept the risk.”
New York-based Verifly has an office in Ireland filled with geospatial specialists who build and enhance models of drone-specific hazards across the United States, using public and private data to price the risks instantly inside the app.
“With Verifly, the risk is really sharply delineated because it’s only covering a quarter of a mile of an area for an hour where the risks are known,” Bregman said.
This type of service offered by Verifly is the “key” to the drone insurance industry, said Chris Walach, director of operations for unmanned aviation and the director of operations for the FAA-designated Nevada unmanned aircraft system test site.
“It’s got to be simple, it’s got to be accessible, and — most of all — it has to be economical for the operator and very usable,” Walach said. “Those that can move to the top of making it easier, making it more economical and making it more usable to the operator would move ahead to the pack in the insurance industry from a regulatory perspective.”
Given that Nevada is working to become the global location of choice for the drone industry, and that Nevada has taken the lead on regulations around autonomous vehicles, it’s just a matter of time before local companies race to compete in the drone insurance industry.
“Any kind of technology that comes in is something that Nevada would like to take the lead in,” Jain said, adding that the insurance industry is very competitive and he expects to see companies “jump in and offer products right away.”
Verifly launched in Nevada and 39 other states.