Is the everyman drone-owner the answer to rural loss adjusting?

Is the everyman drone-owner the answer to rural loss adjusting? | Insurance Business America

Is the everyman drone-owner the answer to rural loss adjusting?
Drone technology has the ability to revolutionize the insurance industry. Its high potential in capturing images for loss adjusting and risk assessment is widely acknowledged among insurance professionals.  

Drones increase the quality and accuracy of information used in the underwriting and claims processes by helping insurers and reinsurers see tricky locations, like complex structures and roofs and operate in difficult scenarios such as after a natural disaster.  

Having the right expertise to adjust losses in rural areas has not always been easy, especially in the most isolated regions of North America. But the marriage of insurance and technology to create a drone gig economy could provide an answer to that problem, according to Mike Quigley, head of property underwriting, Reinsurance Division, Munich Reinsurance America, Inc.

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“Some insurtech companies are building platforms and capabilities that almost Uber-ize drones,” Quigley told Insurance Business. “Essentially, if you own a particular type of drone and you’re registered with the FAA, and have the appropriate approval and regulatory requirements in place, you could register on to a platform to be available to pilot your drone on specific missions like capturing images needed for inspection or claims adjustment.

“The insurtech companies would transmit the time, place and flight plan to the drone pilot and get the appropriate consent from nearby air traffic control and property owners. All the drone pilot would have to do is show up at the provided location and fly a pre-determined flight pattern, capture images and upload them to the platform. The underwriters and claims adjusters at the insurance company would take over from there, analyzing the images on the platform.”

Using drones to increase efficiency, either internally or externally via insurtech platforms, can help insurers provide better customer service, according to Quigley. Being proactive and responsive to claims leads to better client retention and helps people / communities to rebuild quicker after a disaster.

“Being a drone pilot is a new opportunity for individuals, especially those who live in non-urban areas,” said Quigley. “But it’s also an opportunity for insurers and reinsurers to get information and analyze imagery almost straight away post-event, and adjust claims sooner and quicker.”

The Uber-ization of drones is a very interesting concept, according to Quigley. The merger of insurtech capability with the knowledge of the (re)insurance carriers around underwriting, risk and claims is a recipe for the future.  

“As that relationship continues to build, I’m sure we will start to see the use cases of drones increase and the ideas start to progress,” he added. “Five years from now, we’ll probably be used to seeing drones flying by more frequently, and I think drones might become part of the normal inspection process after claims have been made.”

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