What Drones Can Do For the Claims Industry

Cathy's Tuesday TipWe live in a world of faster, better, stronger. The insurance industry is no different. We try to load our “toolboxes” with the newest, best, high tech equipment to make our jobs easier and more efficient. The Drone or UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) is a hot trend in claims adjusting. I must admit, the benefits are pretty impressive which is why we utilize drones in some circumstances at CJ Hester, Inc. They fly, they take pictures, but they are still machines. Can a moving camera determine hail damage? Can it see leaky pipes? Maybe, maybe not…that is why drones do not replace an adjuster. Drones will always be just a tool no different from our tablets, tape measures, and ladders. Hope you enjoy Cathy’s Tuesday Tip! ~Cathy

droneSafety
Drones help keep adjusters safe and increase their value at the same time. Stepping onto a slick roof is a potential hazard for anyone having to walk around, measure, and take pictures. There is danger in just climbing a ladder. The knowledge of flying a drone and having an FAA license adds to your value as an adjuster. Using a drone could potentially make an adjuster 40-50% more efficient.

Speed
Using a drone is quick and efficient. It typically takes at least an hour to physically inspect and measure a roof whereas, a drone takes just 10 to 20 minutes for an inspection depending on the size of the property, of course. Paired with the proper software and AI (artificial intelligence), such as Kespry, the drone not only saves the adjuster time but quickens the claims process so the property owner can have the damages repaired quicker. Some drones are equipped with infrared cameras (IR) to assess the damage. This can more accurately determine the age of the roof if there is water damage and the overall integrity of the roof. Using depth sensors, they can also measure the roof slope while flying. This alleviates time and physical stress from the adjuster and/or the time it takes to get a satellite image of the property.

Efficiency
In the unfortunate event that there is a disaster, a drone can record and transmit images of damage to multiple properties. Drones can be programmed to inspect multiple properties in an area using a flight plan set by the adjuster using something as simple as a tablet. This also saves time and keeps the adjuster safer since there is so much unknown after a catastrophe.

Risk Management
Drones are also useful for risk management. They can aid in collecting data on a property before a policy is issued. Suggestions can be made for the property using the data and also aide personalizing the premiums.

There are some drawbacks to drones. They are expensive, take skill, and require pilot certifications. Also, drones can be prohibited by the property owner and also the FAA. Some policyholders will only allow actual people to inspect their property. Drones can not feel a weak board or smell odors that an adjuster can. It does not possess the human connection that an adjuster may have. This is why a drone is only a tool.

We all want the best options for our clients. Why not offer them the resources to make their claim and have their repairs done in an expedited fashion while keeping the adjusters safe and efficient?

To view more of Cathy’s Tuesday Tips, visit our blog.