FAA Green-Lights Drones for Insurance Claims

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A new FAA ruling will allow the Property Drone Consortium to fly drones for property claims research on behalf of customers. Allstate is a member of the Consortium, which is led by EagleView Technology Corp., a technology provider of aerial imagery, data analytics and geographic information system solutions.

In a catastrophe, access to neighborhoods could be limited by local authorities, debris or weather, the Consortium said, and drones could help claims professionals serve customers despite those restrictions.

"Clearing this hurdle is a big step forward as we continue to research the benefits of using drones in our property claims service," said Shawn Broadfield, Allstate's claims vice president and member of the Property Drone Consortium. "The ability to use drones in areas hit-hard by catastrophe where accessibility is limited will help us better assist our customers when they need us most. Allstate is always looking to leverage innovation as we help our customers protect what matters to them most."

This Property Drone Consortium’s exemption includes the following provisions:

  • Must be 5 nautical miles away from airports with a control tower
  • Flights are limited to 400 feet above ground
  • Must be over private property with permission from the property owner
  • Pilots must hold a commercial, private or sport pilot's license and an FAA airman medical certificate or driver's license and have received training on the unmanned aerial vehicle system.
  • Must be flown in daylight, with a visual observer and within unaided line of sight
  • Permission authorized until May 31, 2017

The FAA approval paves the way for consortium members to use drones to collect and process images for research, which can facilitate the assessment of exterior property damage. The consortium also plans to continue its research on safety, including collision avoidance, visual line of sight and automated flight planning with drones, the consortium said.

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