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Travelers offers some help from above for hurricane victims

WINDSOR  -- It is a new approach to helping their customers and "learning on the fly" was part of the education at Travelers Insurance Windsor campus, also known as Claim University.

For the past year, Travelers has taken to the skies using drones, using the unmanned aerial vehicles to assess damages and provide a birds eye view in hard to reach places. "We've trained more than 200 drone operators since the FAA's new regulations went into effect last year," said Patrick Gee, a senior claims vice president at Travelers. "We've flown almost four thousand flights in almost every state around the country," Gee added.

A group of 14 Travelers employees -- part of their Catastrophe Response Team -- were busy on the company grounds in Windsor learning the ins and out, the ups and downs, of flying a drone. There is both classroom work and flight training on a nearby field.  Many of the newly trained Cat Team members will soon head down to the flood ravaged sections of Texas and Louisiana and use the drones to help customers with claims from the wrath Hurricane Harvey.

Nate Stanton, a drone pilot and claim product manager at Travelers said, "we can go places we couldn't before such as over homes or above chimneys." Stanton noted that the drones have made the environment safer on the ground for Travelers employees. "We can keep our folks out of harms way such as off roofs and dangerous situations." Gee remarked the company could have as many as 600 drone operators in the coming year, "it speeds the (claim) process and allows us to pay our customers quicker."

Travelers says they typically train employees on drones for a full week before they are tested and then, once certified, they can work with the devices in the field.