Farmers Insurance disclosed it has started using a fleet of drones to help facilitate the claims process for customers reeling from roof damage after major storms.

The drone launch follows a series of field test that helped determine the best way to use drones along with Farmers’ existing claims operation. Plans call for using the technology now to help with residential property damage enhancements.

An initial rollout will focus on areas most impacted by hailstorms and other severe weather events.

“We believe our new drone program will help improve response time and safety for our claim representatives during their evaluations, and ensure Farmers maintains a leadership position in the insurance industry,” Keith Daly, chief claims officer for Farmers Insurance, said in prepared remarks.

Kespry is supplying Farmers’ initial squadron of drones. The company is based in California and focused on technologies such as fully-automated industrial drone systems. Farmers said the Kespry drones will help it move more quickly and safely to gather rooftop imagery and data, generate analytic reports, supplement ladder assist capabilities and resolve more claims with greater efficiency and accuracy.

Farmers added it will use its own FAA-licensed drone operators for the drone claims process. These individuals are also Farmers-trained claim representatives, the insurer added.

The technology itself includes high-resolution, 3D imagery that can detect granule loss and other physical damage data of residential roofs. Farmers claim representatives will get access to comprehensive roof dimensions and automated damage detection, with onsite availability of rooftop imagery made possible in minutes.

Insurers including Munich Re’s Hartford Steam Boiler, Erie Insurance, AIG, USAA and State Farm have tested the use of commercial drones for property inspections, underwriting and loss prevention work.

Source: Farmers