Allstate took to the sky to inspect hail-damaged homes in South Texas using drones for the first time after new FAA rules went into effect this week. Inspecting more than 20 homes in the Sequin/New Braunfels area of Texas recently hit by hail, Allstate used multiple drones to test image quality, damage analysis tools and customer response to the technology.
“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,” says Allstate Chief Claims Officer Glenn Shapiro. “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.”
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 drone program continues research and development with the goal of using drones in both the claims process and for property inspections.
In the event of a catastrophe, physical access to a neighborhood might be restricted by local authorities or by debris. In this situation, a drone could potentially 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.
“When we think of how to best serve our customers in the future, drones are a critical component,” says Shapiro. “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.”
During the Texas test, Allstate 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.