Drone Regulation and What It Means For Inspections

Drone Regulation and What It Means For Inspections
Technology has dramatically changed the way that today’s claim inspections are performed, and perhaps there is no greater example of this than the Allstate’s recent use of drones to inspect the roofs of 20 homes in Texas.

For the past year, Allstate has been testing drones to see how they could leverage this technology to assist with inspecting roof damage. The intention of this testing is to see if drones can actually speed up the time that it takes for adjusters to handle insurance claims.

Now that the Federal Aviation Administration has established some new rules for how businesses can use drones, we can expect that many other insurance companies will dabble in this technology going forward.

Previously, the use of drones to complete claim inspections required a licensed pilot to operate the drone and a second person to serve as a spotter to observe the test. This two-person job made it inefficient to use drones to complete inspections, which is why we have yet to see an influx of insurance companies jump on board with this technology.

However, with the recent Federal Aviation Administration ruling, just one person that has passed a drone-piloting exam is needed to operate the drone, and second person is not required to serve as a spotter.

Drones have the potential to change the landscape of inspections in a number of positive ways. First of all, the inspector would be able to dedicate more time to analyzing the imagery and risk versus having to drive to each property. The use of drones has the potential to speed up the response time for claims and using drones can be safer than having inspectors physically climb roofs to view damage.

All in all, drones may have the potential to save insurance companies money despite the upfront investment in this new technology. However, there will certainly still be times when the human eye is needed to get up-close-and-personal with the damage and do things such as test the flexibility of the shingles. With this being said, in order for underwriters to properly assess risk, having field inspections completed by humans will continue to be the preferred option.

It will be very interesting to see how the use of drones makes it ways into the property inspections arena in the coming years. How do you feel about the use of drones? Do you think that inspectors will still be able to adequately assess risk with the use of drone technology? Please leave your feedback in our comments section below.