Drones are playing an increasingly important role in how insurance companies assess insurance claims—as well as what properties to sponsor.

At least two companies have partnered with drone racing competitions over the past year, with more expected to follow.

In the largest deal in the space, Allianz this year announced a five-year global partnership with the Drone Racing League. The elite race circuit is now known as the Allianz World Championship, a series of six professional races in Atlanta, Boston, London, Miami, Munich and New Orleans.

The partnership provides major benefits to both parties. The deal gives DRL credibility via an association with a 126-year-old company and one of the world’s biggest spenders in sports marketing, while Allianz gains a global platform to engage Millennials and promote its forward-thinking positioning.

“The pursuit of innovation and calculated risk taking are the reasons insurance was invented in the first place. Allianz is proud to be partnering with DRL, a true pioneer of today’s digital driven sports,” said Jean-Marc Paihol, Allianz SE head of group market management & distribution, in a statemen announcing the tie.

“Drones are already an important part of our business so we’re excited to align with DRL as they harness the latest technological advancements and reimagine what racing in the 21st century looks like.”

AIG served as the official insurance partner of the 2016 U.S. National Drone Racing Championships in New York City. AIG was the second insurer in the U.S. (behind State Farm) to receive a license from the Federal Aviation Administration to use drones for claims related services.

“What we loved about the opportunity is consistent with what we have done in rugby. It gives AIG the opportunity to have a leading position in what could arguably be viewed as an emerging sport and showcase our position as innovators in the space,” said Daniel Glantz, AIG global head of sponsorship.

AIG used the sponsorship to accomplish four key objectives:

  • Engage drone stakeholders (Association of Professional Drone Pilots, etc.)
  • Help shape rules and regulations as it relates to the use of drones by insurance companies
  • Promote status as a leading provider of insurance for unmanned aircraft 
  • Entertain employees, customers and prospects

“We want to be known as a forward-thinking company. This is a small area of business, but it has huge potential.”