Thought Leadership

Send in the Drones: Property and Casualty Insurance Industry Explores Use of Unmanned Flying Vehicles

Drones, or, more specifically, Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS), are drawing increasing interest from the insurance industry, according to a recent article on

Wind and hail-damaged roofs and fire-damaged homes and businesses can sometimes be dangerous or difficult for property insurance adjusters to inspect. Nobody wants to slip off a steep-pitched roof or step on shoe-puncturing nails and debris. That’s when a remotely piloted UAS, equipped with a high-definition video camera and other technologies, can fly in to save the day.

Article author Randall Ishikawa, VP of Pictometry firm EagleView Technologies, provides readers with a good background on UAS, and the distinction between UAS, UAVs, drones, and other unmanned aircraft.

As UAS use booms, the FAA is rapidly playing catch-up to lay out a set of rules and regulations for the safe use of the devices. Meanwhile, a wide array of industries are exploring the best ways to use UAS in their operations.

The property and casualty insurance sector is a natural fit for UAS. Adjusters can use them to gather photos or videos of wind and hail-damaged roofs or to document the extent of crop damage. Insurance storm teams can use them for geographical surveys to assess damage to storm-affected areas, gathering information useful for deciding where to set up facilities, how many staff to bring in, and the best way to have equipment and supplies delivered.

As the FAA creates a roadmap for pilot education and training and safe operation of UAS, Ishikawa notes that the insurance industry should also address concerns for their use in property inspections. For example, property owners will need to be educated about how and why the UAS will be used. Additionally, insurance companies will need to address security and privacy issues in regard to the images and data captured by UAS.

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