US personal lines insurer Allstate is using drones to inspect hail-damaged homes in South Texas.

The company claims that it is the first-of-its-kind research mission flown under newly modified FAA rules for commercial drones.

Multiple drones have been used by the insurer to inspect over 20 homes which were hit by recent hailstorm in the Sequin/New Braunfels region.

The unmanned aircraft was used to test image quality, damage analysis tools as well as for customer response to the new technology.

Allstate chief claims officer Glenn Shapiro said: “Our customers have been very receptive and interested in this innovative use of technology and how it will help shape the way we identify damage in the future.

“We have been active in the drone space and researching use cases for a while now, but to test drones with our customers who have actual storm damage is a big step forward.”

As per the new FAA's Part 107 Drone Rules, companies are allowed to fly small unmanned aerial vehicles for their business purposes.

Following this, the publicly held personal lines insurer intends to use drones for both property inspections as well as for the claims process in the future.

The personal lines insurer says that drones are highly effective when physical access to a neighborhood gets restricted because of debris or by local authorities.

It also says that a drone could help claims professionals in serving customers despite the restrictions in place while also adding that prevailing hostile weather conditions could prevent speedy physical inspections.

In its Texas aerial inspections, Allstate was helped by EagleView Technology Corporation in analyzing the flights and in further research of how the collected images could be utilized.

Image: Allstate used drones near Seguin, Texas to inspect hail-damaged homes. Photo courtesy of Allstate Insurance Company.