There’s no question that drones are a powerful humanitarian tool. In disasters from wildfires to hurricanes, drones can help during an event. But it may be during the long slog of recovery that drones provide the most benefit; helping people get back in their homes.
During a disaster like the Houston hurricanes this year, drones proved invaluable in assessing road conditions, assisting rescuers to find stranded victims, and capturing storm footage. In the California wildfires, Los Angeles firefighters used drones to help strategize: to monitor the fire, keep firefighters safe, and identify hotspots.
But as the U.S. has seen in the aftermath of a devastating 2017, recovery work from a major disaster is slow and difficult. Long after the TV cameras have moved on to another topic, residents are still struggling to get back into their homes or, as in Puerto Rico, have basic services and power restored. And that’s when drones really get to work – partnering with insurance companies to inspect infrastructure and houses so that repairs can be made safely and quickly.
Soaring Sky, a premiere drone service and training company based in Florida, has been working with insurance companies nationwide to improve disaster management and structural inspections. “The use of the latest drone technology is safer, more efficient, and more cost-effective than traditional methods,” says Soaring Sky.
“The aerial imagery allows adjusters more time to analyze and assess damage, while reducing time that is wasted driving to and visiting each site. Our drones provide a faster inspection process, a safer way for adjusters to do their jobs without having to physically climb on structures, ultimately saving insurance companies time and money,” said Soaring Sky Co-Founder, Ryan Cowell.
Aerial imagery provides the needed precision and detail allowing adjusters to zoom in and inspect roofs with incredible accuracy. “The images can also be used to take precise measurements without setting a foot on a roof,” says Cowell. “… Insurance companies and their clients are benefiting more and more as this tool is utilized with greater frequency.”
Soaring Sky has flown over more than 800 homes throughout the state of Florida in the past two months alone. Going into 2018, the company plans to cover other states that have experienced natural disasters in 2017. They are also launching their own Roof Inspection Training Program for Drone Pilots nationwide.
Some insurance companies using drones say that they can double the number of assessments processed in a day. In an area overwhelmed with claims, that’s significant. Inspections are a proven use case for drones, one that brings the pro drone mantra of “faster, cheaper, safer” to life. And it’s a use case that works for everyone – saving the insurance companies money and getting the insured back in their homes more quickly.
Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.