Allstate Acts on New FAA Rules, Using Drones to Assist Texas Policyholders

Responding to hail damage, Allstate used multiple drones to test image quality, damage analysis tools and customer response to the technology.

(Policyholder Eric Styles with Mark Woirol of Allstates drone program during the carrier’s drone research mission.) 

Acting on new FAA rules for commercial unmanned aerial vehicles, Allstate mobilized drones to inspect policyholders’ damaged homes in South Texas following hail storms. The insurer reports that it used multiple drones, as part of a “research mission,” to inspect homes in the Sequin/New Braunfels area of Texas to test image quality, damage analysis tools and customer response to the technology.

The new rules from the FAA, known as Part 107, went into effect Monday and cover a wide variety of commercial uses for drones weighing less than 55 pounds. Allstate’s reports that its drone program continues research and development with the goal of using drones in both the claims process and for property inspections as part of the underwriting process.

FAA’s New Drone Rules Open up Insurance Use Cases.

“Our customers have been very receptive and interested in this innovative use of technology and how it will help shape the way we identify damage in the future,” comments Glenn Shapiro, Chief Claims Officer, Allstate. “We have been active in the drone space and researching use cases for a while now, but to test drones with our customers who have actual storm damage is a big step forward.”

Glenn Shapiro, Chief Claims Officer, Allstate.

Glenn Shapiro, Chief Claims Officer, Allstate.

Drones can be especially useful in the event of a catastrophe, wherein physical access to a neighborhood might be restricted by local authorities or by debris, an Allstate statement notes. In such situations, drones could help claims professionals serve customers in spite of those restrictions. Ongoing weather could also affect physical inspections of property where a drone might be able to work without any delay. “All of this provides an opportunity for Allstate to better serve customers in a fast, fair and easy way,” the statement says.

“When we think of how to best serve our customers in the future, drones are a critical component,” Shapiro adds. “This rapidly evolving technology brings a new level of safety and efficiency into the field, so I’m encouraged by the new rules and eager to introduce drones in a big way for the benefit of our customers.”

Allstate Partners with EagleView Technology Corporation

During the Texas test, Allstate reports that it partnered with EagleView Technology Corporation to analyze the flights and further research how the images collected can contribute to an overall aerial image strategy for the insurer. Allstate continues to participate in the Property Drone Consortium, an industry-leading group dedicated to helping further the safe use of commercial drones.

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Anthony R. O’Donnell // Anthony O'Donnell is Executive Editor of Insurance Innovation Reporter. For over a decade he has been an observer and commentator on the use of information technology in the insurance industry, following industry trends and writing about the use of IT across all sectors of the insurance industry. He can be reached at AnthODonnell@IIReporter.com or (503) 936-2803.

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