In a development that could see the speed of insurance claims soar, a US insurance company has sought permission to start using manless drones when surveying natural disaster landscapes.
Insurance group USAA partnered with technology company PrecisionHawk to develop a five-pound (2.3 kilogram) aircraft designed to collect high-quality data from the air. The company hope to find whether an eagle-eyed view could improve the research and claim approval time in insurance areas susceptible to damage, such as farm insurance.
The insurers submitted a request recently to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) asking for permission to test the drones, which would be controlled from the ground by experts. The practice runs would see how effective the technology would be if put into use by insurance groups.
The sky’s the limit
Areas that have been hit by flooding, bushfires or other natural occurring disasters can remain hazardous for some time, making it dangerous for insurance experts to survey the extent of the damage and approve claims.
“We’re constantly seeking ways to better serve our members, especially during catastrophes, when getting into neighbourhoods immediately after can be dangerous to human life, and applying new technologies is one way we can do that,” explained USAA President Alan Krapf in a company press release.
Meanwhile, Kathleen Swain, a USAA staff underwriter and FAA-rated commercial pilot and flight instructor, said the technology could be the key to improving the speed at which businesses can recover from disaster.
“We believe this research can lead to safer, quicker and more economical claims service for our members and their communities,” she said. “This research could lead to industry breakthroughs that help make an extremely difficult time for people a little easier.”
Would you like to see the idea take flight?