American International Group, Inc. announced that the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) has approved their request to replace human roof inspectors with small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).
Every year across the US insurance inspectors inspect roofs of buildings to check for storm damage and check structures destroyed by natural disasters. The insurance company AIG announced on April 8th, 2015 was granted an exemption by the FAA to start using drones in place of human inspectors for these types of risky jobs. This follows similar exemptions for State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. and United Services Automobile Association.
“AIG likely won’t be able to fly the devices over neighborhood homes, at least not yet”
“AIG is committed to continuous improvement and innovation in providing better, faster, and safer risk and claims assessments to our customers,” said Eric Martinez, Executive Vice President, Claims and Operations, AIG. “Leveraging cutting edge technologies like UAVs can enhance our ability to assess and mitigate risks to better help our customers and their communities prepare for and rebuild after a catastrophic event.” the company said in their press release.
For now, the UAVs will only operate for commercial purposes, and must be flown by a human pilot. It’s very possible in the near future that residential houses will be given the exemption as well, and that buzzing you hear over your house will simply be a drone checking your roof. “Because of the guidelines, AIG likely won’t be able to fly the devices over neighborhood homes, at least not yet”, said Mark McKinnon, an attorney working for AIG.
AIG started work on its drone effort in 2010 and has since been testing at FAA sites over the last year.