Travelers Insurance in the U.S. is responding to the hurricane in Texas by training their adjusters to become certified drone pilots. Travelers Insurance had 65 certified pilots as of Friday among the 600 employees that are deployed to the Houston area. Overall, they have 300 employees that are certified drone operators, and are looking to get that number to 600 by early 2018.
Other companies such as State Farm and Allstate have drones, but State Farm has decided to not use its drone fleet in Houston, just yet. Allstate has contracted a third-party drone operator to do hundreds of inspections a day in Houston.
By using drones, insurance companies can save time and protect their adjusters from potentially unsafe areas, not to mention being able to get “the customer back on their feet more quickly, paying them more quickly so they can get their damages repaired as quickly as possible,” says vice-president of claims for Travelers, Jim Wucherpfennig.
Since the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) eased some restrictions last year, insurance companies have increased their fleets. Drones have become very inexpensive and as a result, most major insurers now have a fleet – “the benefits were evident in the response to Hurricane Matthew last October,” according to Jim Whittle, chief claims counsel for the American Insurance Association. If you are unable to enter an area due to restrictions or nature, you can fly your drone and get access to the property for an assessment.
For Travelers, they do not expect their drone fleet to take the place of human adjusters, as the claims specialists will almost always do an on-the-ground inspection to get a proper final estimate. The drones allow for a head start.
For one Travelers employee Laura Shell, a catastrophe claims specialist, she believes that by using a drone it will allow her “to get a look into areas that aren’t easily accessible and onto roofs,” to do her job quickly.
In situations like Hurricane Harvey and Matthew it has become evident that the benefits drones provide are far reaching, not only for the insurance companies and adjusters, but also the insured, who are in desperate need of support in order to get their lives back on track after such devastation.
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By: Nicolas Di Nardo
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