Interested in Having a Drone Program in Your County? Learn Tips & Guidelines

Drone regulations, legislation, safety and technology were discussed during a recent program overview presentation hosted by the Local Government Insurance Trust (LGIT). Drones are also known as Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS).

lgit presentationThe Director of Commercial Drones, Brent Klavon, for Aviation Systems Engineering Company (ASEC) raised awareness about drones, what they are good for, what risks are involved, the process for which local governments should implement a drone program and reviewed the forthcoming LGIT process for providing coverage for organizational drone programs.

Klavon shared that most people think of privacy issues, costs, and regulations when they think about drones and not about how they can save lives, time and money. In the public sector, drones have helped with law enforcement, emergency management, fire-rescue, economic development, landfill assessment, construction project development, GIS products and more.

When starting a drone program, many think of the drone product itself and the data it can produce but don’t think about the insurance, personnel certification, personnel training, maintenance of the drone and the obsolescence it takes to have a drone or drone program.

When starting a drone program, Klavon gave the audience many things to think about:

  • Organize – Identify drone requirements, build a concept of operations, develop a budget, research equipment options, identify the personnel that will be using the drone(s), and suggests to keep it simple
  • Communicate (top concern) – Engage in your leadership, go through the proper chain of command and talk with the elected officials about the program, communicate with the public what you’ll be using the drone(s) for and get approval for the program
  • Implementation – Obtain a declaration letter that states the organization is a government entity, coordinate with local FAA, airports, military, etc., procure equipment, develop program: manuals, training, crew, policy, safety programs, etc., submit a Certificate of Authorization (COA) application (required) and obtain insurance coverage
  • Sustainment – ongoing training, repair/replacement of drone and personnel handling the drone(s)
Local Government staff learning about drones
Local Government staff learning about drones

In the Summer of 2016, LGIT will implement a drone coverage program. The purpose of LGIT’s drone program is to address the needs of members who use, or are pursuing the use of UAS for official government business. Here is the overview of LGIT’s program:

Part 1: Application/Audit. The Application begins the process for obtaining drone coverage and includes a step-by-step audit for members to self asses the organization’s ability to meet LGIT’s standards.

  • Organizations that are unable to satisfy the standards may retain servics from a qualified vendor to assist addressing areas of concern
  • The self-audit identifies areas requiring more attention or support, striking a balance between program flexibility and standardization of essential safety management processes
  • Audits should be conducting during program start-up as a tool to develop safe and compliant programs. Subsequent audits will occur annually, or when triggered by a significant event or change in the program

Part 2: Insurance. LGIT will provide coverage upon satisfactory completion of Part 1.

To learn more about LGIT’s drone program coverage, please contact Scott Soderstrom, Director of Underwriting, at scott@lgit.org.

To learn more about ASEC, please visit its website or contact Bryan Barthelme, Commercial Drones, at bryan.barthelme@ASEC-incorporated.com.

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