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Drones and the insurance industry

Drone use has grown considerably in the United States. In recent years, more and more hobbyists have been taking up drone flying. And drone use seems poised to grow even further, as new loosened federal guidelines on commercial drone use could open the door to more widespread business use of drones. Federal estimates have predicted that sales totals for drones will be up to 7 million by 2020.

What does the rise in drone use have to do with insurance? Well, an increased prevalence of drones could impact some key things for the insurance industry.

For one, it has the potential to change how insurance claims are investigated. Insurance companies are starting to look at the claims investigation applications of drones. Such applications could include taking photographs of claim-related areas it would be difficult or potentially unsafe for a person to access, such as a damaged steep roof. Some think that, in the future, drones will be one of the regular tools insurance adjustors have with them on claims investigations.

So, drones might have the potential to address some of the practical issues connected to investigating claims. Of course, practical issues regarding claims investigations are not the only impactful issues that can come up in relation to the claims process. So too can legal issues regarding the handling of claims. Skilled insurance defense attorneys can advise insurance companies on their options when potential problems come up regarding these kinds of issues.

Another thing a rise in drone use could affect for insurance companies is what kinds of claims they see. Drones (whether they be commercial drones or drones for recreational use) could get into accidents that cause either injuries or property damage. These accidents could lead to insurance claims, depending on the nature of the accident and the terms of the insurance policies of the hobbyist or business involved. So, one wonders if upcoming years will see an increase in drone-related insurance claims and, if they do, how the insurance industry will respond to such an increase.

Sources: Insurance Business, “Drone accidents can be covered by homeowners’ insurance: NAIC,” Allie Sanchez, Oct. 18, 2016

Marketplace, “Insurance industry sees drones taking claims work to new heights,” Patrick Skahill, Sept. 29, 2016

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