Insurance companies use drones, planes, AI to assess storm damage

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Drones might become a normal sight in the skies over Houston following Hurricane Harvey. Eyewitness News learned many big name companies like Farmers Insurances rely on the new technology to help process claims.

Brent Hazen deployed a drone in Sienna Plantation Thursday afternoon. He works as a claims representative for Farmers' insurance catastrophe response team. He used the drone to snap pictures of damage to a policyholder's house.

"We have 15 trained adjusters who can fly the drones. We currently have seven drones in the Houston area," said Hazen. "This is the first place that we have deployed the drones. We've only been doing it for the last week. We do anticipate continuing to do it nationwide."

ABC13 reached out to several insurance companies. A spokesperson with Allstate said they first used drones in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew. They do plan to use them to help process claims in the Houston area.

Allstate also said they sent planes before and after the storm to take aerial images. In a company first, the spokesperson said they've started using artificial intelligence to assess those photos and determine any damage.

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