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Drones may be the wave of the future for insurance companies

Contributed by Drone Guard Insurance
February 9, 2018

Businesses are constantly evolving and insurance businesses are no different. A current evolution being witnessed within the insurance industry is the increased embracement of the use of drones in the field.

In the event of a catastrophe involving damage to an insured party's property, adjusters will be mobilised to evaluate the extent of property damage once a claim is made. For years, this was how things worked in the insurance industry. But lately, insurance firms have begun opting for a new modus operandi. Instead of mobilising human claim adjusters to evaluate a property, unmanned aerial vehicles are being sent in their place. The dispatch of a drone to inspect such damage happens fast and the information it provides is just as coherent, or even more so compared to what a typical human adjuster can provide. This makes settling claims at faster speeds and in greater volume not just possible, but also easier.

To you, this scenario might sound a bit sci-fi but it is actually already happening in the US, UK, and other parts of the world. In a few more years, drones will in all likelihood become the official new faces of insurance companies, so don't expect a human claim's adjuster to arrive at your location when you call your insurer to make a claim.

How drones are presently being used by insurance companies

A variety of real life applications within the field of insurance have already been found for drones. Some of the more prominent ones include;

  • Roof Damage Inspections: According to insurance experts at Drone Guard, "a common use of drones among insurance businesses is the inspection of damaged rooftops..." Roofs can be exceedingly dangerous to inspect especially in scenarios where they have suffered major damage, are steep, or wet. These dangers put human adjusters at great risk when they climb a roof to evaluate damage. But with drones, an insurance company can evaluate damage to a roof faster, better, and much more safely. This way, human adjusters can stay safely on the ground while a drone provides a clear aerial image of every aspect of a building's roof.
  • Boiler Inspections: Boiler and pressure vessel inspections are an important safety measure that are atimes required by law. Many insurers have begun using drones to inspect such boilers especially in scenarios of commercial boilers that are stories high and are difficult to access.
  • Post Disaster Claims Inspections: In the event of a catastrophic disaster, a property might not be accessible to an adjuster or even safe enough to approach for an evaluation. In such situations, a drone can be dispatched to perform the evaluation. This makes it possible for an insured party to forward a claim and get an answer quickly regardless difficulties in physically reaching the property in question.
  • Insurance Inspections: Where an insured party has property that is huge, such as a big piece of land or an expansive warehouse, such a property can take a long time to be properly evaluated by a claim adjuster. But a drone thanks to its flight capability and aerial view can make short work of such an evaluation. A drone in such a circumstance can also be fitted with special software or camera to enable it spot specific flaws on a property which an evaluation is targeted at.

Advantages of drones for insurance companies

The reason why an increasing number of insurance companies are embracing the prospect of adopting drones isn't farfetched. The use of drones in their line of work offers a variety of advantages including mobility, efficiency, as well as cost benefits. For example, due to their design, drones are small and easy to manoeuvre. This makes them a great option for evaluating not just the outside of a property, but also its inside.

Furthermore, drones significantly reduce the cost of operations by minimising expenses related to workers compensation, travel costs of adjusters, and so on. Another advantage that makes drones such a tempting option for insurance companies is the huge amount of ground they can cover during an evaluation as well as the safety benefits which ensures the safety of human adjusters.

Privacy Issues

The potential of using drones to make the operations of insurance companies easier are valid but there are certain concerns arising from how the use of drones might infringe on the privacy of individuals. Some people are of the impression that drones being used for commercial purposes might also be used to spy on unknowing individuals. These issues are yet to be fully settled but governments have provided regulations to guide the legal usage of drones for commercial purposes, regardless the industry within which it is being used.

Other risks

"Asides from the privacy issues, other potential risks posed by the use of drones by insurance companies include the risk of damage to third parties. That is, the person or property of a third party being damaged by a drone that's in use by an insurance company. In such a situation, such a third party can bring a lawsuit against the company that owns the drone to demand for damages." States Drone Guard IE.

FAA requirements to fly a drone

As earlier stated, there are government regulations in place to safeguard how drones are used commercially. The rules for hobbyists and commercial pilots greatly differ but below are highlights of the rules concerning drones under the control of commercial pilots

  • The pilot must be approved by the Transportation Safety Administration
  • The pilot must not be younger than 16 years of age. He/she must have also passed an initial aeronautical knowledge test. The test will be delivered at an FAA certified testing centre.
  • The drone must be less than 55 pounds
  • Class G airspace
  • Must be registered
  • Must fly at or below 100 mph
  • Must fly during the day
  • Must fly under 400 feet
  • Must keep the aircraft in sight (visual line-of-sight)
  • Must not take off from a moving vehicle
  • Must not fly over people
  • Must yield right of way to manned aircraft
  • All of these rules are subject to waiver

In conclusion

The groundwork for drones to become key players in the operations of insurance companies have already been laid and the use of drones is already in the testing stages for many companies. Before long, you can expect drones instead of human claim adjusters to show up when you make a claim.


Tags: insurance | law | individuals | business | regulation | Insurance | Other



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