Insurtech start-up Flock hopes to scale the nature of its tie-up with Skyports as the company grows its drone-based delivery business

Flock will initially cover drone test flights, but plans to scale its partnership with Skyports (Credit: Flock)

Flock has partnered with drone-landing infrastructure company Skyport to provide insurance for its unmanned delivery vehicles, expecting to grow its risk-transfer business through the deal.

The tie-up currently applies to test flights conducted in the UK, Belgium, Sweden and Finland that are considered to be Beyond Visible Line of Sight (BVLOS) — meaning the drones will fly far enough they can no longer be seen by their operator.

But the start-up — which is backed by German insurance giant Allianz — claimed the way its Flock Enterprise insurance package is structured means cover could be scaled to include deliveries too.

Flock CEO Ed Klinger said: “Skyports is one of the truly groundbreaking companies reinventing the future of urban mobility.

“Our unique approach to real-time insurance will enable them to capitalise on granular risk insights to proactively mitigate flight risks, improve safety standards across their fleets, and reduce their insurance premiums.”

Skyports builds the ground infrastructure to manage the BVLOS drone flights of its partners, which include Volocopter — a German drone manufacturer currently working on a flying taxi.

The drone-landing specialist is currently licensed to build 15 rooftop vertiports — the unmanned-aircraft equivalent of an airport — in London, and anticipates launching its commercial drone delivery business at the start of 2021.

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Skyports is working alongside unmanned vehicle manufacturer Volocopter for its deliveries (Credit: Skyports)

Deliveries will include supplies related to the medical, e-commerce and logistics sectors.

Skyports managing director Duncan Walker said: “Skyports philosophy is to partner with companies early on to ensure we meet our customers’ needs and Flock provides this service for us.

Flock Enterprise insurance includes flexible limits that start at £1m ($1.29m) of equipment coverage and go up to £25m ($33m) for liability claims.

Flock hopes to increase its list of fleet-owning business clients

Flock launched its enterprise-grade coverage in June this year, after initially serving single-drone policies on a pay-per-flight basis — or covering up to 10 pilots on a monthly-premium product called ‘Fly-Unlimited’.

The start-up uses a smartphone application connected to AI software to collect and aggregate area data for each drone flight.

This data gives customers a risk rating and generates a flight-specific premium in less than a second.

Flock Enterprise coverage is calculated on a usage basis, with real-time flight data consistently informing on the risk profile and premium payment associated with a company’s fleet.

By having access to this data through Flock’s app-based software, clients can mitigate their flight risks and thereby lower their premiums.

Klinger believes this style of insurance has applications across several industries, and hopes to form more partnerships soon.

“Flock Enterprise enables large drone companies to undertake increasingly complex flights and operations, from oil and gas inspections to autonomous package delivery,” he added.

“We’re proud that our technology is opening up the UK’s airspace and accelerating growth of the industry.”