Inside Unmanned Systems

OCT-NOV 2017

Inside Unmanned Systems provides actionable business intelligence to decision-makers and influencers operating within the global UAS community. Features include analysis of key technologies, policy/regulatory developments and new product design.

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SPECIAL REPORT 28 unmanned systems inside   October/November 2017 Photos courtesy of Allstate and Kespry. I nsurance companies, like Allstate and Farmers Insurance, have spent time developing drone programs over the last few years—which proved to be beneficial during the Hurricane re- sponses for Harvey and Irma. Allstate began routinely deploying drones to speed insurance claims earlier this year in four states, including Texas, said Justin Herndon, spokesperson for Allstate. "After Harvey there were some areas with pretty limited access, which can make it really difficult for someone try- ing to do a roof inspection to get from point A to point B," Herndon said. "The damage was widespread, and the drones allow us to be much more efficient. We can have an adjustor looking at the pho- tos as they come in. We can process the claims faster so customers get their esti- mate and payment quicker. Contractors become scarce after hurricanes because they're in high demand. The faster you can get in line the faster you can get back to a sense of normalcy." There's also the safety aspect, Herndon said. Not only are inspectors traveling in rough conditions, where there's flooding, downed powerlines and other debris in the roadways, they then have to climb on a roof to take pictures when they ar- rive at their destination. Herndon stressed that this process doesn't do away with the human element. The drone, flown by a third party, Speeding Insurance Claims captures the images and the adjustor reviews them the same way as if they were taken by a person— the process is just faster. While it's difficult to know just how much drones speed up the claims process—ev- ery home and situation is different—Herndon did say workers typically complete three or four inspections a day. With a drone, that num- ber easily increases to 10. "We combine the images we col- lect along with data we buy as far as wind speeds and weather conditions at the time of the loss," Herndon said. "We can overlay that and say we know that at this point, the wind was blowing from north to south and this damage here is from north to south with these dimensions. There's a lot that goes into it. It's more than looking at images. We're combining them with all the available information we have." While Allstate uses a third party operator for roof inspections, Farmers Insurance has trained pi- lots on staff. The company partnered with drone manu- facturer Kespry earlier this year to implement UAS and speed up the claims process for customers. Farmers brought all their Kespry drones to Texas and integrated them into their normal workflow, said Vice President Tim Murray, who heads in- side and national property claims at Farmers Insurance. They deployed the fully autonomous solution to inspect homes with the most wind damage. With the Kespry drones, insurance adjusters can fly a property in 8 to 12 minutes, Murray said. Like Herndon, he couldn't say exactly how much time that saves because each situation is unique, but there's no doubt they're able to get to areas faster than if they had to wait to complete the roof in- spections using traditional methods. Most customers are very accepting of the technology, Murray said, and happy to know it could help them get their claim processed faster. "In minutes we can fly the home and be standing with customers, showing them images of the roof on the iPad," Murray said. "This was a catastrophic event, and we're focused on getting customers what they need to start recovering their lives. The technology allows us to do that much faster." FOR MORE Kespry also works with a lot of mining companies, Kespry CEO George Matthew said, and missions have been flown in both Texas and Florida to survey any damage the storms might have caused to their facilities. To learn more about how mine operations use UAS, read Monitoring, Mapping, Measuring: How Drones Are Changing The Mining Industry at insideunmannedsystems.com. RELATED STORIES ONLINE Allstate flew drones to help assess roof damage after Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. AFTER THE STORM

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