American Family Insurance has received approval from the Federal Aviation Administration to test drones to facilitate catastrophe response.

“When disasters strike, every moment counts when it comes to helping our customers recover,” said Paul Choi, claims national product director for American Family. “Drones could supply images to help us more quickly determine the extent of damage, providing information to deploy resources and prioritize our efforts on homes that are worst hit.”

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Testing is expected to begin in the fall in Madison, WI., and the insurer said drones eventually will be tested in real-world scenarios, such as when access to damaged areas is restricted for safety reasons, such as when an EF-4 tornado ravaged Fairdale, Ill. in April of this year.

“In some situations, drones could provide us a true picture of what our customers are facing in a matter of hours, instead of days. That’s huge when people are looking for information, help and hope,” said Ryan Rist, American Family innovation director. “We’re excited about the potential.”

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