Now there are three. American International Group disclosed it is the latest insurer to win Federal Aviation Administration approval to operate commercial drones, following similar actions with USAA and State Farm. Eventually, AIG plans to go global with the concept.
USAA announced plans this week to start testing drones as a way to help speed review of insurance claims after natural disasters. State Farm made a similar revelation earlier in March, that it won FAA approval to test drones for commercial use with an initial plan to use them to respond to natural disasters and assess possible roof damage during the claims process.
Their move comes after the FAA loosened some requirements in March for obtaining government permission to fly commercial drones, even as it develops proposed drone rules. That action will likely spur more insurance company FAA waivers and their entrance into the commercial drone sphere.
Like the others, AIG sees the benefits of drones for efficient claims handling. But in addition, AIG said the FAA approval allows it operate commercial drones for risk assessment, risk management, loss control and surety performance for U.S customers. As in the case of USAA and State Farm, AIG will also pursue a major research and development program focused on finding the best ways to use drones to benefit its customers.
AIG said that it sees drones as a tool to help quicken surveys of disaster areas in a way that enables faster claims handling, risk assessment and payments. As well, AIG touts drones as a way to safely inspect areas that are otherwise dangerous and hard to reach in order to gather claims, property and structural data.
AIG said it is already researching the use of commercial drones in New Zealand, an effort that has given it information that will be incorporated into its global commercial drone strategy.
“Leveraging cutting edge technologies like [commercial drones] can enhance our ability to assess and mitigate risks to better help our customers and their communities prepare for and rebuild after a catastrophic event,” Eric Martinez, AIG’s vice president, claims and operations, said in prepared remarks.