Rick Green 200

Insurance companies turn to drones to assess Harvey’s damage

Sept. 1, 2017

Insurance companies are turning to drones to assess property damage, as I reported earlier. In the wake of Harvey, the companies are testing their drone fleets on a large scale, according to Nicole Friedman and Leslie Scism in The Wall Street Journal. They report that Travelers has 24 drones ready to be used in Texas while Allstate expects to make hundreds of flights a day with contracted drones. They quote Jarrod Murrieta, head of claims for catastrophe response at Farmers as saying, “We are pretty confident” that 14 adjusters trained to use seven drones available for use in Texas can make accurate estimates based on photos.

They note that the companies will need federal approval to operate their drones over many areas as well as permission from individual homeowners.

“To be sure, insurance adjusters will still be climbing on thousands of roofs to inspect damage in person,” they write. They quote a State Farm spokesperson as saying, “Our claims adjusters will likely need to inspect both the interior and exterior of the home to assess coverage and damages. For this situation, we find that the best way to service our customers and evaluate coverage and damages is through on-the-ground claims handling.”

Friedman and Scism report that Chubb, which insures businesses and expensive homes, will mostly use drones for commercial property and inaccessible property on barrier islands, for example. They quote Fran O’Brien, head of the company’s high-net-worth business, as saying, “If technology is the way to give good service, we will do that. If it can be done through human adjusters with lots and lots of experience with these kinds of claims, we will” go that route.

About the Author

Rick Nelson | Contributing Editor

Rick is currently Contributing Technical Editor. He was Executive Editor for EE in 2011-2018. Previously he served on several publications, including EDN and Vision Systems Design, and has received awards for signed editorials from the American Society of Business Publication Editors. He began as a design engineer at General Electric and Litton Industries and earned a BSEE degree from Penn State.

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