The U.S. House of Representatives’ committee on transportation and infrastructure recently approved an amendment in the Aviation Innovation, Reform, and Reauthorization (AIRR) Act to make it easier for property/casualty insurers to use unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) following natural disasters, says Rep. Carlos Curbelo, R-Fla., who proposed the amendment.

“An amendment that I offered will allow insurance companies the ability to use UAS in a safe manner to quickly survey damage after a federal or state declared natural disaster and issue their policyholders expedited claims,” explains Curbelo.

“The residents of South Florida know firsthand the devastation hurricanes can inflict on our lives, and the inclusion of this amendment will provide a very necessary first step in rebuilding our communities after a disaster.”

Have to wonder if Measure, the new UAV powerhouse that is targeting insurance companies to provide support for this kind of work has a hand in this. No matter what the amendment says, one assumes that the operators would have to comply with whatever the rules of the road turn out to be. So I am not at all clear what the amendment will actually accomplish but make the congressman look good to his constituents.
The real sticky wicket here is actually integrating private UAV operations with first responders. We have run a lot of stories from around the world – most recently another one about the Austin FD – which addresses the challenges of doing this effectively, especially in a high-stress disaster environment. Turns out it takes an enormous amount of coordination and communication to avoid creating a whole new set of problems.


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