Amendment for UAS in Post-Disaster Recovery Added to FAA Reauthorization

Posted by Betsy Lillian on February 16, 2016 No Comments

The U.S. House of Representatives’ committee on transportation and infrastructure recently approved an amendment in the Aviation Innovation, Reform, and Reauthorization (AIRR) Act to make it easier for property/casualty insurers to use unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) following natural disasters, says Rep. Carlos Curbelo, R-Fla., who proposed the amendment.

According to the American Insurance Association (AIA), current UAS operational limitations include permission requirements and line-of-sight restrictions. AIA says these restrictions are particularly burdensome in post-disaster environments when residents are often under evacuation orders. The Curbelo amendment allows for a suspension of these prohibitions following federally or state-declared disasters.

“An amendment that I offered will allow insurance companies the ability to use UAS in a safe manner to quickly survey damage after a federal- or state-declared natural disaster and issue their policyholders expedited claims,” explains Curbelo. “The residents of South Florida know firsthand the devastation hurricanes can inflict on our lives, and the inclusion of this amendment will provide a very necessary first step in rebuilding our communities after a disaster.”

He adds, “I was also glad to receive the commitment of both the chairman and ranking member to work on utilizing UAS to eradicate mosquito larvae. Mosquito nests are prevalent in the Florida Keys, where those tasked with spraying and killing these pests often face great difficulty in reaching the isolated mangroves where mosquitos reproduce. As the threat of the Zika Virus grows, it is critical we use all tools necessary, especially UAS, to kill disease-carrying mosquitos.”

Tom Santos, AIA’s vice president of federal affairs, adds, “This language will improve insurers’ ability to use small UAS while protecting aircraft, people, businesses and property.”

The AIRR Act – H.R.4441, or the FAA reauthorization bill – also recently received an amendment regarding a micro UAS classification.

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