Allianz and InsurTech Startup Flock to Launch UK’s First Pay-as-you-Fly Drone Insurance

Press Release | July 27, 2017 | London
  • Allianz and Flock are partnering to launch on-demand drone insurance through a simple, easy-to-use app for commercial and recreational users
  • Flock’s app leverages Big data to provide drone pilots with real-time information, reducing risk and improving flight safety
  • The ‘Flock Cover’ app will instantly provide pay-as-you-fly liability insurance up to £10M, tailored to each flight, including equipment insurance for commercial users
Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty SE (AGCS), the corporate insurance carrier of Allianz SE, is working with InsurTech startup Flock to develop digital insurance solutions for the growing drones or ‘Unmanned Aircraft Systems’ (UAS) market. The partnership’s first product, to be launched later this year in the UK market, is a mobile app (for Android and iOS devices) enabling operators to purchase ‘pay-as-you-fly’ drone insurance at the touch of a button.
According to the AGCS report Rise of the Drones - Managing the Unique Risks Associated with Unmanned Aircraft Systems , drones are fast becoming a multi-billion dollar industry, as the number of recreational users grows and the benefits businesses can gain from utilizing such innovative technology becomes apparent. The number of UAS is set to triple by 2020.[1] Globally, UAS market volume is forecast to reach 4.7 million[2] units by 2020 (other estimates are even higher), with the market for commercial application of UAS technology estimated to soar from $2bn to $127bn[3]. Such projections are driven by drones becoming cheaper, smaller and easier to use, as well as regulatory progress around the globe. The potential value of the global commercial drone insurance market is set to reach $1bn by 2020[4]. However, the increasing number of drones in the skies also brings new risks, such as collision with aircraft, buildings and people. The number of near-misses with aircraft is a growing concern, resulting in the UK government’s announcement that drones of a certain size will need to be registered and users take a safety test in future. Drone insurance has a vital role to play in protecting operators and the public from such risks.

Flock, working with Allianz, will deliver on-demand drone insurance through a simple, easy-to-use app for commercial and recreational drone users. Flock has partnered with world-leading data providers to aggregate real-time data relevant to drone flight risk such as drone data, operator profiles, environmental data, and hyperlocal weather conditions (accurate to within a few minutes and a few hundred meters). Flock’s algorithms convert this real-time geospatial data into a risk metric, and then an insurance premium for commercial or recreational drone flights.

Pilots will be fully insured for their flight time, within a specified geographical region – all of which is customizable at the point of sale, or can be scheduled in advance. The ‘Flock Cover’ app will also provide drone pilots with a comprehensive safety tool, alerting them to ground hazards, real-time weather updates, Notice to Airmen (NOTAMS), and restricted airspace.

Brian Kirwan, UK CEO, AGCS said: “Twenty-two incidents involving commercial airliners and possible drones were investigated by the Civil Aviation Authority’s Airprox Board in the first four months of this year alone. As drone usage increases, new risk exposures will emerge including the risk of cyber-attacks and terrorism. Further incidents are also likely to occur once regulations are finalized that strike a balance between reaping the benefits of drones and minimizing misuse. Future incidents could result in multi-million pound claims against businesses, operators and manufacturers,” Kirwan continued.

Tom Chamberlain, Underwriting Manager for Aerospace and General Aviation, AGCS added: “Allianz is at the forefront of insuring the rapidly expanding UAS industry and we’re excited to partner with Flock to explore Big data driven risk intelligence solutions directly addressing the safety and insurance needs of both commercial and recreational users. This partnership further aligns with Allianz’s digital strategy to focus on new distribution channels for our products and provide enhanced customer journeys in a technologically and digitally changing landscape.”

Ed Leon Klinger, Flock’s CEO, said “Flock is reinventing drone insurance from the ground up. Increasing drone use will bring complex risks. Flock uses cutting edge data analytics to identify and quantify these risks and together with Allianz, you’re now able to insure against them. Our app puts control back into the hands of the pilot, allowing them to purchase insurance exactly when they need it and fully customized to the needs of their job”. Klinger continued “Allianz are a world leading authority in aviation. With their expertise, and Flock’s cutting edge technology, this partnership has the potential to redefine drone safety and insurance.”

The Flock Cover app will be launching later this year and Flock have now opened up early access to beta-testers, with signup available through their website. Flock and Allianz will be announcing more products in the coming months.

[1] FAA Aerospace Forecast FY2016-2036

[2] Unmanned Aerial Vehicles Market, By Value and Volume Analysis and Forecast 2015-2020 - Research and Markets

[3] Drones will take $127bn worth of human work by 2020, PwC says. Clarity from above - PricewaterhouseCoopers

[4] Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty

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Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty (AGCS) is a leading global corporate insurance carrier and a key business unit of Allianz Group. AGCS provides risk consultancy, Property-Casualty insurance solutions and alternative risk transfer for a wide spectrum of commercial, corporate and specialty risks across 12 dedicated lines of business.

Our customers are as diverse as business can be, ranging from Fortune Global 500 companies to small businesses, and private individuals. Among them are the world’s largest consumer brands, tech companies and the global aviation and shipping industry, but also wineries, satellite operators or Hollywood film actors. They all look to AGCS for smart answers to their largest and most complex risks in a dynamic, multinational business environment and trust us to deliver an outstanding claims experience.

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The ‘creation’ of Flock
Flock arose from a research project in Imperial College London’s Data Science Institute. Flock’s founder - Antton Pena - was undertaking  a research project there as part of his Master’s program at the Royal College of Art (RCA). He published a paper on the future of the drone industry, in which he proposed a system whereby the risk of any given drone flight, anywhere in the world, could be quantified and minimised using real-time analytics and Big-Data.
Ed Leon Klinger graduated from Cambridge after having completed a Master’s in Technology Policy. Ed had been focusing on the future of the drone industry, proposing solutions that Governments could leverage to reduce drone flight risk and maximise the benefits realised from piloted and fully autonomous drones. Ed was due to begin working in private equity, but decided to join Flock as its CEO.

Flock’s investors
Flock recently raised over half a million pounds in seed funding, and is backed by London Venture Capital (VC) firm Downing Ventures and R/GA Ventures. Flock has also received investment from a number of high profile individuals (angels), including experts in the insurance and automotive industries.  

Flock’s grants
Flock have received a grant from Ordnance Survey, with whom they work very closely. Flock have received three grants from Innovate UK, the UK Government’s innovation agency.

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