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Drone Technology is Helping Define Risk

Data Driven Approach Benefits State Farm® Customers

State Farm continues to expand its use of drones to help customers. A Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) waiver now allows the insurer to fly the eBee+ drone to collect aerial images for risk modeling.

Innovative drone technologies allow the company to adapt to the changing needs of customers and communities. Two new State Farm drone pilots are spearheading the effort. The aerial data they gather will gain new insight into risks and how to mitigate them.

“Our data driven approach to understanding risks will help us evaluate environmental changes that could impact our customers,” says Melissa Seloover, Technology Manager for RED Labs.

Dynamic Duo

Tanya Leahy and Ben Clawson are the first full time State Farm drone pilots. They are also brother and sister.Tanya Leahy and Ben Clawson are the drone pilots deployed on this new initiative. Already private airplane pilots, they expanded their passion for aviation to also become FAA-certified drone pilots. They also happen to be siblings.

“We are competitive,” says Tanya. “Growing up, we didn’t share toys very well. Our mom thinks it’s hysterical we share a drone now.”

“I’m happy to be able to put our aviation background to use in a different way,” says Ben. “By being drone pilots for State Farm, we can increase our aviation knowledge and have a positive impact on the industry.”

“Ben and Tanya are unique for State Farm as the first, full-time, deployed drone pilots," says Seloover. “They are part of our greater innovation story, helping State Farm explore new opportunities.”

State Farm Drone History

This new effort extends the company’s use of drones. Internal research, as well as collaborative drone projects have resulted in significant progress.

Previous FAA waivers allowed:

  • collaborations with Virginia Tech’s Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership (MAAP) and participation in the FAA Integration Pilot Program (IPP)
  • drone operations over people (OOP)
  • flights beyond the pilot’s visual line of sight (BVLOS) for catastrophe damage
  • flights related to claims (originally limited to geographic areas impacted by Hurricanes Florence and Michael)


About State Farm®:

For over 100 years, the mission of State Farm has been to help people manage the risks of everyday life, recover from the unexpected and realize their dreams. State Farm and its affiliates are the largest providers of auto and home insurance in the United States. Its more than 19,400 agents and 67,000 employees serve over 91 million policies and accounts – including auto, fire, lifehealth, commercial policies and financial services accounts. Commercial auto insurance, along with coverage for rentersbusiness ownersboats and motorcycles, is also available. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company is the parent of the State Farm family of companies. State Farm is ranked No. 44 on the 2023 Fortune 500 list of largest companies. For more information, please visit

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