After the 2017 hurricanes, insurance companies started using drones to inspect property claims. One year later, while some insurance companies are still in the testing stage of their drone programs, others have already began using drones and even rely on them as a key part of their claim inspections.
State Farm became the first US insurer to be granted permission by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to operate drones for commercial use and has been running tests on drones since 2016. In late August 2017, the company deployed a remote pilot claims teams to respond to insurance claims. They were specifically being used to inspect damage from large scale weather disasters from things such as wind and hail.
The insurance agency Chubb also uses drones for inspections. According to the executive property specialist of the Risk Engineering Services Department in Chubb, Eric G. Olson, the drones allow them to see and gain access to properties quicker and more efficiently without endangering the lives of their inspectors. About half of the drone flights conducted by Chubb in 2017 were for post catastrophe claims.
Travelers Insurance is another insurer that uses drones to assist with claims. Jim Wucherptefenning of Travelers Insurance said that the firm has expanded their drone program by employing around 550 FAA licensed drone pilots and claim adjusters. With over 17,000 flights across the US under their belt, Jim estimates Travelers is currently the largest commercial drone user in the United States.
Many insurance companies that have been using drones have reported a reduction in claim times particularly in roof damage claims. Thanks to the drones, they are able to inspect quickly, get the estimates sooner, and pay the insured party more quickly. This not only saves the insurance company time and money, but makes for happy customers.
Chubb’s drone use is not limited to just inspections claims. The team at Chubb realized how much detail drones were able to capture during roof inspections, including those that were not damaged. The images captured provide a clear view which can detect roof damage such as leaks in their early stages. At Travelers, drones are also used for oil, gas claims as well as risk control. It’s only a matter of time before every insurance company uses drones as a main tool for claims and inspections.