In the past century, drones have gone from reconnaissance hot air balloons to highly sophisticated data collection machines. One sector at the forefront of drone adoption is insurance.
In fact, 17% of the commercial drones being flown in US skies are used for insurance purposes, according to the FAA.
Since 2015 underwriters have been using drone technology to stay competitive and agile. By improving data collection and analytics, drones can mitigate risks and cut operational costs. When it comes to analysing new properties, you can expect a big improvement in accuracy and speed.
Insurers are seeing improved risk management and operational efficiency thanks to drone technology. Let’s take a deeper look at how.
Before insuring a property, underwriters have one key priority. They need to fully assess the condition of the property and decide whether it’s worth insuring and at what cost. Ultimately, they need to know the risk and potential exposure.
A huge part of this assessment is the property’s roof.
Rooftop damage is the most common property damage, making them a common cause for a claim. So, it’s vital that the roof is inspected before any insurance policy is approved.
When it comes to effective and efficient roof inspections, drone technology is key. Since its introduction, high-resolution aerial imaging has helped insurers to overcome safety, accessibility, and accuracy challenges.
Overcoming safety obstacles
A big concern is safety. Until recently, if you wanted to know the condition of a roof, you had to physically climb onto it to find out.
Aside from practicality, this process comes with either extra risk or extra cost - or both. Using scaffolding or a cherry picker is more expensive, and less safe. And all that comes before the policy has even been approved.
The alternative, however, would see employees using ladders to scale the roof. Consider a standard sloped rooftop, and we can all recognise the risk. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, an average of 40 workers per year die after falling from rooftops.
In the worst cases, a roof may be inaccessible for manual inspection. Drone inspections forgo extra costs and safety concerns. In fact, a drone can fly 25 ft over a property and collect imagery of the same clarity that would be collected manually.
With a drone, you have imagery that has been collected in a safe, cost-effective way. With this, the insurer is in the best position to decide if the property is worth investment.
Now let’s take a few steps back. Before deciding how to inspect a property’s roof, there’s another question – accessing the property itself.
Roofs are everywhere, which has the potential to make life more difficult for underwriters. It’s impractical to expect insurance carriers to be able to visit each and every roof, especially when it comes to those in more rural areas.
In fact, getting a Loss Control Engineer on location for an inspection can waste valuable time.
Not so for drones.
Thanks to our vast network of over 80,000 pilots, a member of the Zeitview team can be on-site quickly. Our pilots make it easy, meaning that location doesn’t have to define the speed at which a property gets inspected.
With pilots spread all throughout the US, high-resolution imagery can be captured for all properties, within just a couple of days.
For the most informed investment decisions, the most accurate data is vital. If insurers are relying on manually-collected historical data, then chances are they’re looking at an outdated picture.
Current, accurate imagery is key to understanding a property’s true condition. Without this, there’s an increased risk of capital loss.
With drone technology comes crystal clear imagery and the ability to compare directly to old data to get the best picture of the property’s condition.
Inspecting without drones
From safety concerns to accuracy issues, the challenges insurers face can slow down or completely disrupt the risk selection process. This is where drone inspections play a key role. They allow for accurate, efficient, and safe inspections that produce detailed and actionable imagery.
Without drone technology, some inspections simply wouldn’t happen. Amid concerns around costs, safety, and deadlines, it’s common for insurers to call off inspections. Then, they may simply go ahead with insuring the risk.
Therein lies the crux of the issue. If you invest in a property without full knowledge and record of its condition at the start of a policy, insurance companies open themselves up to increased risk.
The more informed the investment decision is, the lower the chance of capital loss.
The power of drones
The imagery collected by drones can go deeper. AI and thermal imaging help to identify trapped moisture and other defects early on in the inspection process. They bring otherwise unnoticed issues to the forefront.
Ultimately, by choosing a drone over manual labour, underwriters can see:
a reduction in claims costs,
fewer injury risks,
more detailed data
improved customer satisfaction.
Drone flights can also be performed repeatedly, creating a consistent, reliable inspection process. With this, expect only the most accurate and up-to-date information. Drones have been on a journey since the 19th century – and not just in the sky. Starting as essential military tools, drones have become vital in protecting investment and informing business decisions. From pilotless hot air balloons to critical commercial tools, we have a lot to thank drones for. Safety, quality, and standardisation are the top of the list.
Collaborating with Zeitview
To carry out effective drone inspections and deliver deeper value from the data collected, insurers can benefit from having an expert partner to work with. And that’s where Zeitview comes in.
Timely and efficient data collection is only the first part of the equation. Our collaboration doesn’t stop once the imagery has been collected. Our insights platform has everything needed to make the most informed investment decision – with detailed analysis and anomaly detection.
Conducting repeatable flights, imagery can be used to compare a property’s condition to previous years. With this, risk selection can be decided based on the most accurate and up-to-date imagery.
Industry expertise, high-quality imagery, and actionable insights is what Zeitview does best and why customers across the world trust us as their inspection partner.
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Explore our industry-leading service offering and find out how we can help transform your business: zeitview.com/insurance