Insurers could soon be able to deploy drones for speedier response to natural disasters under a provision in legislation reauthorizing the Federal Aviation Administration passed by the Senate Wednesday.
“The process called for in this legislation represents a vital step toward the use of drone technology to help policyholders during their time of greatest need,” said Jimi Grande, senior vice president of federal and political affairs for the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies (NAMIC). “Drones can go into disaster-stricken areas long before those areas can be established as safe for humans, which means damage can be surveyed and claims can begin to be processed far more swiftly to help victims begin their recovery process.”
Among several provisions dealing with unmanned aircraft systems in the legislation is congressional direction to the FAA to establish a process by which “civil or public” operators may apply to use drones in areas affected by natural disasters.
“This process will ensure that local officials can maintain control of the situation and the safety of the affected communities, while at the same time allowing insurers to unleash the benefits of this emerging technology to help their policyholders,” Grande said.
The legislation, passed by the House on July 11 via voice vote, authorizes FAA operations through September 2017.
With passage by the Senate, the bill now moves to the president’s desk to be signed into law.
“Drone technology is constantly evolving, with new potential uses being explored and developed,” Grande said. “NAMIC applauds Congress for acknowledging this growth and working to keep up with it.”
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