Drones in insurance

A new FAA ruling will allow the Property Drone Consortium (including Allstate) to fly drones for property claims research on behalf of customers.

A new FAA ruling will allow the Property Drone Consortium (including Allstate) to fly drones for property claims research on behalf of customers.  “The FAA approval paves the way for consortium members to use drones to collect and process images for research, which can facilitate the assessment of exterior property damage. The consortium also plans to continue its research on safety, including collision avoidance, visual line of sight and automated flight planning with drones.

Drones in insurance & beyond

In a world-first, researchers have developed a method to allow for drones to recharge in mid-air

“Drones are making their way off the battlefield and into the mainstream for commercial applications. After a years-long blanket ban on drones for commercial usage, the Federal Aviation Administration in late March awarded 48 waivers for commercial drone use and established an interim policy to accelerate authorizations. State Farm and AIG became the first insurers authorized by the FAA to test and research drones in March, and USAA became the third in April.” Since then, Erie Insurance has announced the use of drones “as a way to mitigate the current safety challenges for our adjusters who at times can be at risk for accidents or injuries” and to make the claims adjusting process more efficient.

In April, Zurich Canada announced that it had launched a drone insurance product. It’s fantastic to see Canadian insurers getting involved early in the game. More insurers will be introducing such coverage as usage expands. According to a Munich Re survey, drone use could soon become common practice for 40% of businesses.

In May, the FAA announced that it is partnering with industry to explore the next steps in drone operations.

In a world-first, researchers have developed a method to allow for drones to recharge in mid-air. This represents a potential game changer for this emerging industry.

Insurance of drones

It is imperative that insurance carriers develop the products/endorsements required for what will likely become a greater part of mobility of goods.

Given that Canada is leading the way in permitting commercial drone usage and mandating that insurance protection be purchased, it is imperative that insurance carriers develop the products/endorsements required for what will likely become a greater part of mobility of goods.

In the US, State Farm has received exemptions to operate commercial drones for roof inspections to aid in assessments and claims.

Drones in insurance: taking off (pun intended)

A number of insurers in the US have been using drones for claims related evaluations.

A number of insurers in the US have been using drones for claims related evaluations. Most recently, Allstate has indicated an interest in developing drones for reviewing catastrophic claims. Drones are particularly useful to “quickly inspect areas that are inaccessible by ground, speeding payments to customers”. A Property Drone Consortium (including insurance carriers, construction industry players and the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety) is participating in R&D and the establishment of regulations for the use of drones for both the insurance and construction industries. In insurance, drones have numerous claims and underwriting related applications.

Photo : Insurance Journal.

The drones are coming!

The commercial use of drones or unmanned aerial vehicles is going to literally take off.

The commercial use of drones or unmanned aerial vehicles is going to literally take off. The US FAA has allocated over $60 Billion to modernize the country’s air traffic control systems and expand airspace to accommodate the commercial use of these aircraft. Congress has mandated the FAA to come up with regulations in 2015. From Amazon and Google to Dominos Pizza, the interest in this technology is huge (decrease delivery speed and decrease costs: how do you compete with that?). In fact, it is estimated that drones will produce approximately $90 Billion in economic activity between 2015 and 2025, creating about 100,000 jobs. To expedite the process of commercial introduction of these vehicles and shape the commercial regulatory environment, Amazon, Google and others formed a UAV coalition to lobby Washington.

The insurance industry is likely to be a user of such technology – both for claims adjusting and underwriting of certain risks. In fact, USAA, one of the largest insurance companies in the US, petitioned the FAA on October 2nd for permission to use drone aircraft as a way to speed up claim processing. In addition, insurance coverage of drones represents another revenue source for insurers.