With its recent Section 333 Exemption, State Farm says it is the first insurer in the U.S. to receive Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) permission to test unmanned aerial systems (UAS) for commercial use.
The approval provides the insurer the opportunity to research this new technology and potentially deploy it in ways that could benefit customers. State Farm plans to explore the use of unmanned aircraft to assess potential roof damage during the claims process and respond to natural disasters.
‘The potential use of UAS provides us one more innovative tool to help State Farm customers recover from the unexpected as quickly and efficiently as possible,’ says Wensley Herbert, operations vice president for claims.
The company plans to move forward with test and development flights, which will be conducted at private test sites in the Bloomington, Ill., area. Eventually, these flights will evolve to testing in real-world scenarios. State Farm says it will strictly adhere to parameters set forth by the FAA.
According to the exemption grant, the company can operate the Aerialtronics Altura Zenith ATX8 and Altavian Nova F6500 UAS.
State Farm and its affiliates are the largest providers of car insurance in the U.S.