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A unit of Munich Reinsurance Co. said Thursday that it has received U.S. approval to use drones to investigate claims and conduct other commercial business activities.
Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection & Insurance Co. said it obtained a Federal Aviation Administration exemption in February allowing the specialty insurer to use the unmanned aerial vehicles.
In a statement, the insurer said it plans to use the drones, with a property owner's approval, to fly over hard-to-reach areas that may be unsafe for humans while supporting insurance claims and underwriting activity.
“Drones can save time and money when inspecting properties that are spread out such as thousands of panels on a solar power farm covering many acres,” Jay Jablonski, vice president of professional loss control at Hartford Steam Boiler, said in the statement.
Drone visual and infrared cameras also will help engineers to better analyze risks, he said.
Hartford Steam Boiler, which provides equipment breakdown, other specialty coverage, inspection services and engineering risk management services, is one of 16 insurers that have received an FAA exemption allowing commercial drone use, according to the FAA's website.
A task force of manufacturers, aviation industry associations and others who have a vested interest in small unmanned aircraft systems are meeting to determine an acceptable risk level when drones fly above people.