Verifly: Could you tell me about your business and what you specialize in?
Steven Katz: My company, Sky Ladder Drones, is a drone service provider with operations throughout California. We’re focused on going “beyond pictures” to capture actionable data for our customers through 2D mapping, 3D modeling, and construction progress documentation. Our clients are largely in the architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) industries.
V: What attracted you to this industry, and what are some of your favorite aspects of the job?
SK: I went to a tradeshow about four years ago in Los Angeles, when the commercial drone industry was still the Wild West. At the time, it felt like we were on the cusp of something, much like the early days of the internet and ecommerce. Having seen those industries evolve over time, I recognized that the drone industry had similar growth potential. It felt like I was getting in on the ground floor of something new and promising. As a bonus, it also combined my interests in gadgets, photography, and flight.
V: How did Sky Ladder Drones grow from this initial interest?
SK: The idea of a flying camera attracted me at first, but I chose the name ‘Sky Ladder’ because my goal is to keep people off ladders with what we do. For example, can we inspect a roof or a whole building site more quickly and safely than somebody getting on a ladder and doing it the old-fashioned way? The answer is absolutely yes.
My interest extends beyond the day-to-day work we do; I’ve been a commercial drone pilot since 2016, and I am an instructor for FAA Part 107 Pilot classes at multiple community colleges. We’ve already trained over 150 Part 107 pilots through this program, and the organization leading these courses, Flying Lion, just won the 2019 AUVSI XCELLENCE Award for Training and Education.
V: How did you discover Verifly, and why did you choose us for your drone coverage needs?
SK: I learned about Verifly’s drone app during early tradeshow events. The on-demand drone insurance arranged by Verifly is really innovative, and presented an easy, affordable option when our business was young and growing. Knowing that the policies were underwritten by Global Aerospace gave me an increased sense of security, because it’s a terrific, reliable company. Anybody that knows the aviation market knows Global Aerospace.
Since then, Thimble has launched its app for General Liability insurance, and I’ve become a customer of that service as well. I’m currently working on a construction site, where I’m walking around rebar and carrying gear up ladders. I use General Liability insurance (which just became available in California recently) to protect my customer.
V: How has your experience using each of the apps been? Do you have any favorite features?
SK: I really like the ability to enter Additional Insureds once and then have them automatically populated for future jobs. For drone coverage, it’s nice to be able to look up an area for a future job so I can include a pricing estimate in my quote. On the General Liability side, every customer has specific information they need included on the Certificate of Insurance (especially for construction jobs). Being able to edit the “Description of Operations” field allows me to do that.
As a small company, meeting my customers’ needs is paramount; if I deviate from their specifications, I risk losing their business.