(Image from Allstate’s debut of drone use in Texas in 2016. Source: Allstate/Jessica Lee Photography.)
Allstate has announced that it has mobilized its drone fleet in four states—Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas—in anticipation of the wind storm season. The carrier reports that the multi-state launch is its largest use of drones to date, characterizing the ramp-up as a major step forward in the use of aerial imagery for property damage assessment among insurers. In Sept. 2016 Allstate mobilized drones to inspect policyholders’ damaged homes in South Texas following hail storms, acting on new FAA rules for commercial unmanned aerial vehicles.
“Allstate has been at the forefront of drone research for more than two years now,” asserts Glenn Shapiro, Chief Claims Officer, Allstate. “Aerial imagery is key innovative technology that can improve the speed and efficiency of our property inspection process and help us deliver a faster, more modernized claim experience for our customers.”
Multifaceted Aerial Imaging Strategy
Drones constitute part of a multi-faceted aerial imaging strategy for Allstate this year, according to the carrier. In addition to the use of aerial imagery, which includes drones, piloted airplanes and satellite images and related technologies, Allstate’s adjusters will make in-person visits on the ground to take pictures in situations where aerial imagery cannot be captured.
Allstate reports that it will determine if an aerial inspection is appropriate for each wind or hail damage claim and will get permission from the customer to use a drone for assessment. The images and data will then be submitted to a group of adjusters the insurer has selected to handle estimates virtually for this controlled deployment.
Allstate notes that drones can capture up to 4K-resolution images, enabling adjusters to look at a simple photograph and zoom in for extreme detail on any individual roof shingle. After the initial deployment in four states, Allstate says it will consider using aerial imagery in other parts of the country to assess wind and hail claims as well as for other types of losses.
Customers Embracing the Technology
“This is another way we’re there for families and communities during their greatest times of need, so we’re excited to bring this innovative claim experience to our customers so quickly,” Shapiro adds. “In tests leading up to this deployment, our customers have embraced the technology and have been pleased with the speed and accuracy of the process.”