Drone usage presents new liabilities

The Federal Aviation Administration estimates more than 30,000 drones will be in use by 2020 and currently is developing regulations, policies and standards in anticipation of increased drone usage.

Using drones can provide several advantages for roofing contractors, including the ability to obtain high-resolution photos of roofs to review with prospective customers; the ability to inspect many roofs during a short period of time; and increased worker safety by reducing the need for workers to access rooftops for pre-project assessments.

Before deciding to use drones, roofing contractors should be aware of potential liabilities that stem from drone usage. Potential losses as a result of drone usage include damage to someone else's property; bodily injury to a person; and invasion of privacy while taking pictures or videos of a property. General liability insurance policies typically exclude aircraft, including the use of drones. Coverage under a general liability policy may need to be broadened to provide adequate protection for roofing professionals.

Roofing Risk Advisors, Pompano Beach, Fla., recommends the following strategies roofing contractors may consider to mitigate potential losses associated with drone usage:

  • Add an Insurance Services Office (ISO) drone (unmanned aircraft) endorsement to your company's general liability policy.
  • Consult with a roofing-focused insurance adviser for guidance about potential coverage gaps.
  • Obtain a building owner's consent to take photos and videos and/or perform thermal testing before beginning drone work.
  • Ensure drone operators are educated about what certifications and training are needed to properly and legally use drones.
  • Consider using a third-party drone service to transfer risk and liability to the drone service company.
  • Ensure a drone is programmed to stay within the borders and boundaries of a building to avoid privacy issues.
  • Purchase a separate insurance policy specifically covering drone usage to separate exposure from a core commercial insurance portfolio.

Roofing contractors who choose to add an ISO drone endorsement to their general liability policies can access the endorsement at www.roofingriskadvisors.com/uploads/Drone_Endorsement.pdf.

NRCA announces first ProForeman

Brian Draper, superintendent at Queen City Roofing, Springfield, Mo., has become the first roofing professional to successfully complete NRCA's ProForeman Certificate Program.

The program is designed to help foremen become better team leaders and representatives of their companies. Participants proceed at their own pace to complete more than 20 program elements ranging from in-person programs to online modules in various categories important to a foreman's job, including leadership, safety, technology and customer service.

Draper will be recognized during NRCA's Industry Awards Ceremony and Cocktail Reception Thursday, Feb. 18, during NRCA's 129th Annual Convention and the 2016 International Roofing Expo® in Orlando, Fla.

NRCA CEO receives James Q. McCawley Award

The Midwest Roofing Contractors Association (MRCA) presented its 2015 James Q. McCawley Award to NRCA CEO Bill Good, CAE, during MRCA's 66th Annual Conference in Kansas City, Mo. The award was presented in recognition of Good's outstanding service to the roofing industry.

Good is a career association management professional and certified association executive (CAE). He is a graduate of the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, and holds a master's degree in business administration from the University of Chicago.

Good is past chairman of the board of the Association Forum of Chicagoland and a former national chairman of the board of trustees of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Institute for Organization Management. He served as an officer and director of the American Society of Association Executives and currently serves on the board of trustees of the National Chamber Foundation associated with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Good also has been involved with Rebuilding Together,® Washington, D.C., and completed a two-year term as chairman of its national board of directors.

"MRCA always has occupied a special place in the roofing industry, so it's a real honor to be recognized by them and to join such an impressive group of former recipients," Good says.

The MRCA award was first presented in 1969 and is named for James Q. McCawley, who devoted his life to the roofing industry.

Solar power subsidies to expire in 2016

Solar power will lose its most significant federal subsidy at the end of 2016, likely prompting a decline in solar installations, according to www.bloomberg.com.

Solar power is the most recent renewable energy source to undergo a subsidy cut in the U.S. The federal subsidy for wind power expired in 2013, causing a 90 percent decline in installations. The reduction in federal backing follows a similar European trend that saw Germany, Spain and the Czech Republic scaling back renewable energy subsidies funding.

U.S. federal subsidies provided wind and solar developers with $24 billion from 2008 to 2014, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF). The subsidies led to a 12-fold increase in installed capacity during the past decade, reducing costs at least 10 percent each year.

Despite the 2013 subsidy cut, wind turbines in parts of Texas and Oklahoma now produce enough energy to compete with fossil fuels. But the most recent subsidy cuts come as inexpensive coal and natural gas provide stiff competition for renewable energy industries, and BNEF predicts solar installations will decline 70 percent during 2017.


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