Insurance providers traditionally get slack for being behind the curve in technology but in this instance that is far from the case as American insurance company USAA aims to use drones to speed up the claims process.
"One of the areas we are looking to use these in is before and after natural disasters," said Kathleen Swain, USAA property and casualty group underwriter and commercial pilot.
USAA recently filed a request with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to allow them to start testing unmanned aircraft to see how they could be used most effectively in the case of a natural disaster.
By law the FAA has to respond to USAA’s request within 120 days of the filing.
"It's sometimes much quicker to get the machine out to these disaster zones than a human body. This could help speed up the process and help put them back to where they were before the claims event," Swain said.
The USAA has partnered with Precision Hawk, a provider of user-friendly tools for high quality data collection and processing, who designed the five pound drone they intend to use.
The Faa has come under scrutiny recently based on its controversial policy to keep a tight rein on using commercial drones in the U.S. Nevertheless, Congress, backed by several prominent industries, has been pushing the FAA to implement the infrastructure to allow drone use for business purposes.
Until recently only a handful of companies operating in the Arctic have the FAA's permission to operate drones commercially.
All the testing will be done on the USAA’s privately owned campus land in San Antonio that is uninhabited.
In September, however, the U.S. government gave six movie and television production companies permission to use drones for filming.
Tech giants like Amazon and Google hope to someday use the technology for deliveries and other industries like real estate companies aim to use the unmanned aircraft for photography.