In the aftermath of Hurricane Florence State Farm Insurance in conjunction with Virginia Tech/MAAP obtained two impressive waivers. One for operations beyond visual line of sight and the other for flights over populated areas. State Farm was the first insurance company to be granted these waivers.
To assess damage in communities impacted by Hurricane Florence, State Farm has been granted a waiver for drone operations that will be the first of its kind for an insurance company. The FAA waiver combines permissions for two types of operations that are typically tightly restricted: operations over people and flights beyond the operator’s visual line of sight. These provisions are approved over four states impacted by Hurricane Florence; together, they dramatically enhance State Farm’s ability to evaluate hurricane damage and allocate resources.
The insurance company has been collaborating with the Virginia Tech Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership (MAAP) on one of ten elite teams selected earlier this year to the FAA Integration Pilot Program (IPP). Their successful application for this unprecedented waiver is a testament to the program’s success in facilitating rapid, research-based advances in drone operations to serve communities’ needs.
“State Farm needs to quickly assess damage after significant weather events,” says Robert Yi, Senior Vice President – State Farm. “Drone technology provides us with the capability to quickly deploy over a catastrophe site and assess damage from the air. The data we obtain from drone flights can be used to help us determine the severity of damage. This also allows us to place our Claims team on-the-ground and evaluate uninhabitable insured property.”
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