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ACUITY Gets Drones Approved for Insurance Operations by the FAA

January 11, 2016

Drones seem to be everywhere nowadays and not surprisingly this has drawn the attention of the U.S.  Federal government based on security and privacy concerns. However, regulation is also meant to leverage the value of drones for commercial purposes which is the reason the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) recently granted approval to the insurance company ACUITY to use unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in the conduct of operations within the insurance industry.

UAVs, the term the industry likes to use for drones, are catching on in a variety of industries because of their ability to allow companies in real-time to have a better view of things enabling the capturing of information that can be used to enhance responsiveness. ACUITY for example plans to use drones for such things as preventing injuries, improving claims speed and accuracy. It should be noted this is a significant step as ACUITY is a sizable insurance company that operates in 24 states. It employs 1,200 people across the country and it manages over $3.5 billion in assets.

One of the use cases is using the drones to survey locations that are deemed to be dangerous for insurance claims personnel in the claims process. Imagine locations that have challenges such as a burned out building, a steep cliff side, a highly pitched roof, damaged structures, and other situations that would jeopardize the safety of claims personnel. Drones can inspect these environments from above without risking life or safety. Additionally, the drones will prove useful to help in valuating properties, in loss control, and gauging insurability. 

Recently there have been very public concerns about the safety of the operation of drones, thanks to various incidents near airports and public locations that have emerged in the news. ACUITY, in recognition of concerns about drones has committed to operating them with public safety and privacy as priorities. This means a commitment to comply with FAA regulations and all local regulations that cover the flight and operation of drones. 

The company has already started building up a fleet with several drones in their possession, a trend that will continue now that approval for the program has been granted. The FAA permit has allowed the company to operate specific models in ACUITY’s operations including the DJI Phantom 2 Vision +, DJI Phantom 3, and the PrecisionHawk Lancaster models.  

If you see a drone outside your home, it could perhaps be your insurance company, and in natural disaster scenarios that could be a very good thing.




Edited by Peter Bernstein

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