How Can Insurance Agents Use Drones?
July 19, 2018 |
If you are — or are planning to be — an insurance agent, you know that the insurance industry is working to take advantage of new technology. Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), commonly known as drones, are tools you can use to improve safety, save time, be more productive, and delight your customers with quick service!
Inspecting the roof of a home can be hazardous. You can reach some roofs using a ladder, but climbing up onto a steep roof, or one that has sustained heavy damage, can leave you open to injury. With a drone, you can forget the ladder and launch the drone from a safe location. The drone can take photos of the roof, while you direct it from the ground.
In 20 minutes, a drone can take up to 350 images, giving you a perspective of the property damage that would take you hours to obtain. If you need to inspect damage to a property similar to a warehouse rather than a home, you’re saving even more time.
In addition, when you need to do an inspection of a very complex roof structure or one that is too high to reach from a ladder, you may need to contract with a third party that has the rigging to access the roof for the inspection. A drone can eliminate that expense and expedite the claims process.
Quickly processing claims after a disaster is critical for the people you insure, whether the client is a homeowner or business owner. Unfortunately, a disaster like a hurricane often leaves your insured’s property in an area that isn’t accessible for several days due to safety concerns.
Using a drone, you can take photos and videos of damage to process claims more quickly. In fact, Liberty Mutual used drones for a large number of claim inspections in the wake of Hurricane Matthew in 2016.
Disasters are a perfect excuse for some unscrupulous customers to claim damage that was sustained prior to the disaster event. The Insurance Information Institute estimates that roughly 10 percent of each year’s property/casualty insurance losses and loss adjustment expenses are due to fraud. When you can compare images or videos taken during an insurance inspection to drone output after the disaster you have an excellent tool for reducing fraud.
Property Insurance Inspections
Agents are excited about using drones for inspecting properties that are large or difficult to reach. For example, it’s much easier to complete a crop inspection when you can send a drone out to cover a large area quickly.
Risk Management and Custom Pricing
As an insurance agent, you help to maintain your competitive edge by providing competitive pricing that is customized to the customer to the greatest extent possible. If you have easy access to information about the property that might reduce vulnerability, you’re in a position to more accurately measure risk.
Drone Technology Will Gain in Popularity
Right now, there are some limitations on the use of drones. It wasn’t until 2016 that the FAA’s commercial drone regulations allowed professionals to be trained on the use of drones. In addition, there are some restrictions about where drones can fly, and whether operators need to have a clear line of sight to the drone at all times.
As the commercial use of drones increases, the regulations governing their use will evolve. As a result, more and more insurance companies will authorize the use of drones in even more situations.