LATVIA: new liability limits for drone insurance

29 August 2019 — Cosmin CONCEATU
On August 13th, the Government of Latvia approved the draft over "unmanned aircrafts and other aircrafts" regulation, according to which all drones that weight over 250 grams (~0.55 lbs) are required to carry a civil liability insurance.

While the owners of drones with a mass over 1,500 grams were already obligated by the Latvian law to insure their small aircrafts, there was no minimum liability limit specified. The revised law sets three drones minimum liability intervals, categorized by their take-off mass, as follows:

  • 0.25 kg - 1.50 kg: EUR 150,000 minimum
  • 1.50 kg - 5.00 kg: EUR 500,000 minimum
  • above 5.00 kg: EUR 1,000,000 minimum

"Professionals who use drones for business purposes have so far opted for an adequate level of civil liability insurance. The new rules generally make the field of unmanned aircraft much better, including insurance. As the demand increases, insurers' offers for drone liability insurance could also expand," commented Janis ABASINS, president of the Latvian Association of Insurers.

Other elements introduced by the law includes a minimum age of 18 to pilot a drone (and a minimum of 16 years old only under special conditions), a theoretical and practical exam before getting a Civil Aviation Agency (CAA) certification to pilot a drone, as well as the obligation to get authorization from CAA in advance to flying any unmanned aircraft near a public event.

The revised law will further align the Latvian regulations to European Union frameworks, some of the mentioned rules already being adopted in some EU countries (EU Commission Regulation 2019/945 and 2019/947).

The Cabinet of Ministers regulations will come into force this year after their approval, except for the provisions related to insurance conditions, installation of warning signs, flight model flights, as well as the task of the Latvian joint stock company "Latvian Air Traffic" to develop aeronautical information for period until January 2, 2020.

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