In one of the most ironic moves possible, insurance giant State Farm has petitioned for and received permission to “explore the use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) to assess potential roof damage during the claims process and respond to natural disasters,” according to the Nashville Business Journal. State Farm is the first company to be granted permission to use the drones for commercial purposes; Amazon, the first commercial company to publicly express wanting to use drones, had to wait so long for a permit that its technology was rendered obsolete.
Wensley Herbert, State Farm’s Operations Vice President for Claims, says that “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.” Because the drones would send pictures and videos in real time to whomever needed those files, it is possible that claims for repairs could be expedited. And there is one definite safety benefit: if you use a drone to review a damaged roof, then you don’t need to put a person on that damaged roof.
The part that is hard to swallow about all of this is that State Farm – an insurance company that claims its agents will remove you from a car being attacked by wild buffalo – is eliminating the need for human interaction. Today it’s your roof damage; tomorrow it could be your car accident. State Farm is effectively eliminating a position within its own company to use a machine to record all the details of your claim, claiming their efficiency will be passed on to you, when really all they’re doing is keeping more money for themselves.
There’s nothing wrong with technology: we’ve built some amazing cases here at RML by using the latest tech available to us. But insurance companies are inhuman enough already, aren’t they? The least they could do is send a living, breathing claims agent out to speak to you and to assess the damage of your home. Having a video or a live stream is great, but technology can fail, too.
Insurance companies making their own work easier and keeping more of their money? Same old, same old, from how we see it.
The Rocky McElhaney Law Firm serves clients in and around Nashville, Knoxville and Gallatin. If you have a question about an insurance claim, please contact our office for more information.