US insurers get innovative in catastrophe response

Hurricanes Harvey and Irma see the likes of Allstate and Travelers use a host of new methods

US insurers get innovative in catastrophe response

Insurance News

By Lyle Adriano

While Hurricane Irma impacts Florida (and comes on the back of Hurricane Harvey), insurers are deploying innovative measures to keep their customers one step ahead of a potential catastrophe.

Several insurers have stepped up in this time of crisis, offering novel services to those affected by the previous Hurricane Harvey, as well as to those who need help in light of Hurricane Irma.

USAA has provided an interactive map on its website that shows areas affected by Harvey. Both customers and non-customers can use the feature by typing in an address to see images of their neighborhoods. The first version of the interactive map was created in 12 hours on August 31 using aerial images from DataWing Global, reported NerdWallet.

The company is also considering offering a similar tool after Irma and other disasters.

Farmers Insurance, meanwhile, is taking an emotional therapy route in supporting its flood-affected customers by making therapy dogs available at two of its mobile claims centers in Texas. Customers can visit the center specifically for the dogs, or have the dogs keep them company as they file claims.

Several insurers are already utilising drones, making it easier for adjusters to inspect homes. Companies like Allstate, Farmers, Travelers and USAA are using the unmanned aircraft to assess roof damage in Texas and will likely use the drones again in Florida.

Other insurers – like Allstate and Esurance – are using both artificial intelligence, combined with before-and-after aerial photos, to speed up claims. Software analyses the images along with other data to pinpoint damage.

One insurer, Wright Flood, is allowing its customers to file claims by text message.

“We anticipated that power and connectivity might be limited for a storm of this magnitude and quickly implemented this ability in response to Hurricane Harvey,” chief information officer Timothy Love told NerdWallet.

The company plans to offer the option for customers affected by Irma.

Allstate is expediting its claims process with its QuickCard Pay method. Customers only have to provide a debit card number and email address, and the service instantly wires claim-payment money into their accounts.

Related stories:
Leading US insurers stop issuing auto policies as Hurricane Irma looms
Which US insurers will face the brunt of Harvey?

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