Hurricane Harvey damaged as many as 200,000 homes in Texas. And while homeowners want the recovery process to kick in immediately, many still cannot get back to their homes to see the damage.
So USAA has deployed cutting edge technology to get a bird's eye view of the storm's path when almost no one else could. USAA had already been using the technology internally to assess damage for insurance claims, but when Harvey hit, they knew that this could have a greater purpose.
"Employees were getting questions by members who weren't able to get back in their homes. They couldn't get there. They weren't sure when they were going to be able to go back," said Lea Sims with USAA.
Claims specialists at USAA heard the same thing over and over from clients hit by Harvey last month. As evacuees filled shelters, many didn't know when they'd be able to go home or what was even left. That's when USAA decided to launch a website that allows people to see their property both before Hurricane Harvey and after.
"They're not necessarily asking for much other than just, 'Can I see my house? Just so I can know if it's there or not?' just has been one of those things that has been really wonderful," Sims said.
To pull this off, USAA partnered with a San Antonio company, DataWing, founded by two Air Force veterans. The company uses manned and unmanned aircraft to collect aerial data. One of their pilots flew a Cessna 182 across the coast and Houston to capture the images on the site.
"We took our company, we deployed down to the coast, we knew we needed to get close to the action and that was an easy transition, that was something we could pull from the military is that experience to get up and go and to go some place remote," said Steven Fargo, co-founder of DataWing.
Just type in the address you're looking for in the top right corner. The image on the left will show the property after Hurricane Harvey and the image on the right will show the property before.