State Farm insurance is now utilizing Kespry drone technology to assess damage after significant weather events on residential and commercial properties. The drone team was in Southwest Louisiana Thursday to assess damage after last week’s severe storms which resulted in wind and hail damage for hundreds of residents.

Jennifer Mabou, Sulphur agent, said the use of technology gets a range of initial reactions from her customers. “Millenials, now they love it. They think it’s the coolest thing ever,” she said. “Older customers have a few more questions, but eventually they warm up to the idea especially once I explain how it all works.”

The drone does not take the place of an assessor, rather a Federal Aviation Administration licensed pilot arrives to conduct the inspection and proceed with the claim. Weather, wind speed and space all play important roles as to whether a drone inspection will appropriately assess damage, Jerrell Campbell, pilot, said.

The camera flies in a specific pattern above the property taking hundreds of photos to create a composite shot of the entire roof. “I’m able to get a much more accurate picture of the extent of the damage this way as compared with using a ladder,” he said.

Drone technology also assists in getting claims handled more quickly as a drone inspection takes a fraction of the time of a traditional inspection. “We’re able to get many more accomplished in a shorter amount time so customers can get their check that much sooner to begin repairs.”

State Farm was the first insurance company in the United States to obtain FAA approval to operate drones for commercial use 2015, Campbell said. In 2017 the company began conducting aerial roof inspection flights for claims and most recently it has been approved by the FAA to conduct long range flights to assess large properties or even acreages for damage.

“The technology is always increasing and I predict State Farm will continue to be on the cutting edge of this type of technology,” Campbell said.

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