has used drones to help assess damage from recent bushfires in an Australian first.
The claims team for the insurer, through its CGU
, WFI and Coles brands, used the technology to view damage caused by the fires that devastated the Great Ocean Road area on Christmas Day.
The use of the technology will help speed customer claims by fast-tracking the assessment process, the insurer said.
Using a property repair partner, the insurer was able to inspect damaged properties from a safe location before physical access to the area was granted by authorities which allowed the insurer and its customers to review damage without the risk of physically accessing the site.
Andy Cornish, chief operating officer for IAG who will step down from his role later this year
, said that the use of drones by the company paves the way for future use in insurance.
“The impact caused by the Victorian bushfires was incredibly stressful for the homeowners affected and using drone technology as part of our assessment process allowed us to make the experience safer, simpler and faster for our customers,” Cornish said.
“We are proud to be the first insurer in Australia to use drones to assess damage following a major bushfire and have received extremely positive feedback from our customers who benefitted from this technology.
“We are already working with our property repair partner to develop how we can use this technology to help more customers in the future.”
The bushfires destroyed 116 homes and burnt at least 2,000 hectares, according to the ABC,
and were officially declared a catastrophe by the Insurance Council of Australia
after more than $53 million worth of insured losses.
Cornish backed drones and other technology to make a big difference in the future of the insurance industry but noted that the personal touch is still best, especially when it comes to traumatic situations such as a natural disaster.
“While technology has played a huge role in meeting our customers’ needs, we also understand that nothing beats personal connection when times are tough,” Cornish continued.
“We have allocated extra resource to ensure we have a team available on-the-ground to support our customers in getting back on their feet.”