According to the Insurance Journal, drones and aerial imagery have become very important to the insurance industry as a result of natural catastrophes, particularly in the southeast region of the U.S. Drones allowed insurers to capture the impact of our most recent hurricanes and immediately get to work as claims poured in.
The use of drone imagery of the impacted hurricane areas increased by eight times between mid-August and mid-October 2018 compared with the same period in 2017.
It has become an integral part of claim handlers’ workflow along with the other processes that are already in place.
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According to a July 24, 2015 article in the Boston Business Journal, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) granted Liberty Mutual Insurance permission to use four types of drones of varying sizes with several conditions regarding the use of the drones. The drones cannot ascend more than 400 feet off the ground and travel no more than 100 miles per hour. The FAA stated that the drones are small and do not weigh more than 55 pounds.
Liberty Mutual Insurance plans to use these drones to photograph houses and businesses damaged by fires or natural disasters for some claims, in place of manned planes or adjusters on ladders. According to spokesman Glenn Greenberg, Liberty Mutual plans to begin using the drones later this year “on a limited basis.” The drones will initially be used to inspect sites damaged in hurricanes and other large-scale natural disasters, which will help adjusters assess a wide area of damage in a relatively short amount of time.
According to Liberty Mutual, the drones will help protect and keep their claims adjusters and contractors safer since they will not have to risk piloting planes or falling off ladders during roof inspections. Greenberg stated that “they are very excited by this technology that helps our claims professionals more safely help our customers after a loss.” The drones will also provide the insurer with higher-quality photos.
State Farm and AIG have recently received FAA approval to use drones as well. The FAA is asking that the insurance companies have both a visual observer and a pilot with a commercial, private, or other flying certificate to monitor the drone’s flight.
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