It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, No It’s Just State Farm: The Dehumanizing of the Insurance Industry

In an interesting turn of events, the insurance giant State Farm, which is known for its widely recognized slogan, “Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there,” designed to invoke a sense of omnipresent, peace of mind in its consumers; is now going to be the first to pull real human beings out of the field and replace them with robots.  That's comforting.

Like a good neighbor, State Farm is Where?

That’s right, State Farm has just received approval from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to test the use of drones on housing property damage claims.   More specifically, the permission allows State Farm to  “explore the use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) to assess potential roof damage during the claims process and respond to natural disasters,” according to the Nashville Business Journal.

The  plan is still fluid on how integrated the use of drone technology will become to the company, but in early tests the drones will take and send pictures and videos in real time to whomever requests that data at State Farm.  The company is hopeful that claims and repairs will be able to be expedited if more information can be gathered in such a way.  “The potential use of UAS (drones) provides us one more innovative tool in which to help State Farm customers recover from the unexpected as quickly and efficiently as possible,” said Wensley Herbert, Operations Vice President at State Farm.

The idea does have some merit, as it could reduce the possibility of injury to State Farm employees by not requiring them to physically get on a roof to survey damage.  However, we find the concept rather unsettling as it puts one more degree of separation between the people and big money insurance companies and makes it easier for State Farm to start cutting jobs and putting people out of work.

This push towards automation is from a company that advertises that its trusty insurance agents will always “be there” and could even safely remove you from a car being attacked by wild buffalo!   Why then are they the first in the industry to start using robots to do the work- replacing humans and human interaction?  We fear a future where some rundown, bitter adjuster, exhausted of dodging layoffs in a cold, dark cubicle in the basement at State Farm is gleefully denying claims left and right solely based upon images and video taken by drones.

We know that all claims involve so many more components than just pictures.  They involve people- people who are struggling and whose lives are tremendously affected by terrible events, disasters and vehicle wrecks.  You can’t truly understand what someone is going through and put a value on how much their claim is worth until you take the time to know their story, shake their hand, and walk in their shoes.  That’s something we do here at Rocky McElhaney Law Firm every day.

And though we have nothing against technology (as we’ve had some incredible victories on cases here using some of the most cutting edge advancements in the legal industry), we can’t help but feel that “Joe Consumer” who pays his premiums every month expecting one thing, is going to be dealt a great disservice by the use of UAS technology when he receives another.    We sure don’t see those profits from eliminating all the overhead of field representative jobs being passed onto the consumer.  It’s just more of the same; insurance companies making their jobs easier and keeping more money for themselves.

No matter who your insurance company is, no matter what they promise in their ads and over the phone:  Don’t leave it up to them to decide your worth- they have their own agenda.  If you’ve been injured in an auto, motorcycle or truck wreck, give us a call- you have nothing to lose because there’s no fee until we win.   We’ve been serving injury victims across Tennessee and the Southeast for the last 15 years with a passion.  We are easy to talk to, we listen, we care and we fight for you. (615) 425-2500.

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