SkyWatch Partners with Starr Companies on UBI For Drones

The partnership will allow Starr to expand its existing UAV insurance product to offer a telematics-based insurance to UAV operators.

(Source: SkyWatch homepage.)

SkyWatch, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based data analysis, risk-assessment and active risk-reduction platform for the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) industry, has signed an exclusive partnership deal with Starr Companies (New York) to offer a telematics-based UAV insurance platform. The partnership will allow Starr to expand its existing UAV insurance product to offer a telematics-based insurance to UAV operators, according to a SkyWatch statement.

Tomer Kashi, CEO, SkyWatch.

“We are very excited to partner with a visionary company such as Starr,” comments Tomer Kashi, CEO, SkyWatch. “Their understanding of the importance of safety in aviation, amazing reputation, track record, and innovative approach makes them the perfect partner for SkyWatch.”

SkyWatch reports that its mobile application is currently available on an invitation-only basis on iOS and Android to both business and recreational operators. The application connects to many UAVs of choice and allows operators to get real-time hazard warnings based from the drone’s telemetry, calculating a proprietary safety score for each flight the vendor says. The score can be used to set a benchmark, allowing operators improve their scores as they practice safer flights. The score can be used as a factor in pricing insurance for the operators. “Safer pilots, with high scores, can expect to see their insurance premiums decrease over time,” SkyWatch’s Kashi remarks.

Steve Blakey, President and CEO, Starr Insurance Holdings.

At a time when use of UAVs is rapidly growing, SkyWatch allows qualified UAV operators to easily secure quality insurance coverage which is essential for any business, according to Steve Blakey, President and CEO, Starr Insurance Holdings. “SkyWatch delivers the ability for Starr’s aviation business unit to effortlessly obtain the proper data which can be used for better insights on the unique risk a UAV presents,” Blakey says.  “We believe that SkyWatch brings a fresh approach to how insurance operates and their safety solutions put them at the forefront of the industry.”

“Drones are a perfect fit for usage-based insurance—since most drones involve operations from a mobile device, they are connected in their nature,” adds Blakey. “As more and more platforms become connected, we expect to be able to offer the same solution for more emerging technologies.”

The Vision to Stay Ahead of Competitors

“Starr is one of the largest aviation insurers in the U.S.,” comments Ori Blumenthal, CTO, SkyWatch. “Their ability to look to the future and perceive trends is what makes them such a category leader—and their understanding of usage-based insurance is what will keep them there.”

SkyWatch’s software gathers a variety of data sources and uses AI based algorithms to analyze risks for drone operators, according to the vendor. For example, in DJI drones, these include more than 30 different drone sensors to predict and assist in preventing potential failures before they ever occur, hyper-local weather (wind, precipitation, and temperature), 3-D airspace/ground, and crowd density, SkyWatch reports.

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Anthony R. O’Donnell // Anthony O'Donnell is Executive Editor of Insurance Innovation Reporter. For nearly two decades, he has been an observer and commentator on the use of information technology in the insurance industry, following industry trends and writing about the use of IT across all sectors of the insurance industry. He can be reached at or (503) 936-2803.

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