That’s right, this week State Farm was the first to get approval to use drones to inspect property damage.
The Bloomington-based company is the first insurer in the U.S. to receive FAA permission to test unmanned aircraft systems for commercial use. State Farm said it plans to use the aircraft to “assess potential roof damage during the claims and respond to natural disasters.
I can see many interesting issues with having a drone evaluate a property. From a catastrophe standpoint, when a declaration of emergency does not allow vehicles into an area, State Farm’s drones may assess the extent dmage to the community. This could aid the company in ensuring it deploys enough properly licensed adjusters to this distressed area for future help to the policyholders. But drones really can’t replace a licensed adjuster scoping a loss, right? How will the drone data be evaluated by State Farm? Drones can easily scale a high pitch roof or fly all around multistory building, but what the drone sees must still be analyzed and verified for accuracy. A lot of roofs look the same from above.
The drones will also require pilots and are only going to be tested by State Farm for now, but if you are a blog reader in the Illinois area. Keep your eye out.
A spokeswoman for State Farm said the time frame is “fluid” but the company plans to begin testing after they pick which systems they will test and find pilots to man the devices.
Will this advancement be the end of the in person meetings on property damage claims? I sure hope not.