After Harvey, insurance drones take to the Texas skies

In this Aug. 30, 2017 photo, Laura Shell, center, a Travelers catastrophe claims specialist from Lexington, Va., trains to become a certified drone operator at the insurance company’s Windsor, Conn., training center. The industry is using drones to help assess damage in Texas from Hurricane Harvey. (AP Photo/Pat Eaton-Robb)

 

WINDSOR, Conn. (AP) — Insurance adjusters are bringing more drones with them than ever before as they head to Texas to assess the damage from Harvey.

Companies are using the drones on a much larger scale to record images, save time and spare human adjusters from venturing into potentially unsafe areas. Insurers have increased their fleets since the Federal Aviation Administration eased some restrictions a year ago, and tried them out in areas of the southeastern U.S. hit by Hurricane Matthew last October.

Instead of making two or three trips to a house, often with an outside contractor trained in setting up scaffolds and ladders, the adjusters will now be able to do detailed exterior inspections in one trip. The drone’s camera is linked to an application on the employee’s phone, allowing them to take measurements and shoot high-definition photos and videos, often while the customer looks on.

The drones do have limitations. They cannot fly in heavy wind or rain, and they cannot go inside homes to inspect damage.

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