Acuity receives FAA approval to use drones

Unmanned aircraft to help in claims process

Acuity headquarters
Acuity corporate headquarters in Sheboygan.

Acuity has joined the ranks of companies with authorization from the Federal Aviation Administration to use drones in its commercial activities, the company announced.

Acuity headquarters
Acuity corporate headquarters in Sheboygan.

The plan is to initially use the drones to help in the claims handling process, including surveying dangerous locations. The Sheboygan-based property and casualty insurance company also plans to use them for inspection of properties for loss control, valuation and insurability purposes.

Acuity vice president for claims Jamie Loiacono said drones will allow employees to “survey a location faster and safer than they can through a physical inspection. Drones can also deliver a high degree of accuracy and provide additional data, videos, and still imagery.”

“We are committed to respecting the safety and privacy of the public while using this technology in a way that benefits our customers, agents, and employees,” Loiacono said. “All drone operations will be conducted in complete accordance with regulations and with all vehicles under the full control of licensed pilots, as required by the FAA.”

The insurer’s FAA permit includes operation of the DJI Phantom 2 Vision +, DJI Phantom 3, and the PrecisionHawk Lancaster. The company currently owns several drones that were purchased in anticipation of FAA approval and plans to increase its fleet in the months ahead.

Companies looking to use drones for business purposes have to first get FAA approval. There are currently three methods including a certificates for experimentations, certain restricted categories and an exemption for commercial operations in low-risk, controlled environments. The exemption, referred to as a Section 333, requires a petition that usually takes 120 days to process.

 

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Arthur covers banking and finance and the economy at BizTimes while also leading special projects as an associate editor. He also spent five years covering manufacturing at BizTimes. He previously was managing editor at The Waukesha Freeman. He is a graduate of Carroll University and did graduate coursework at Marquette. A native of southeastern Wisconsin, he is also a nationally certified gymnastics judge and enjoys golf on the weekends.

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