To combat Harvey, USAA turns to drones

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USAA has deployed unmanned aerial vehicles and hundreds of adjusters to expedite claims in areas ravaged by Hurricane Harvey.

About a dozen of the insurer’s drones are currently flying over Corpus Christi, Texas, where the storm caused the greatest damage over the weekend, a spokesperson said. A recent but publicly undisclosed partnership has given USAA access to a network of pilots and UAVs, Strategic Innovation Director Kristina Tomasetti told Digital Insurance in May.

USAA has also set up a catastrophe response unit in Corpus Chirsti. Similar to Allstate’s mobile claims center, adjusters equipped with laptops are onsite to assess damage, file claims online, charge electronics for customers and cut checks on the spot.

USAA says it has received more than 15,000 claims so far from its military customers, primarily via its mobile app and website.

“Members are utilizing digital channels to file their claims, as expected,” a company spokesperson said. “Adjusters are triaging based on member need.”

The San Antonio-based company recommends that policyholders begin the claims filing process through its digital channels and not wait for adjusters reach them, as many areas are still inaccessible.

With Hurricane Harvey continuing to move east along the Gulf Coast as a downgraded tropical storm, USAA is also asking members in Harvey’s path to heed local authorities and take necessary precautions.

“At this time, we are heavily focused on the members who have already been affected,” the spokesperson said.

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