"Instead of a ladder, the claims adjuster brought a drone." That one sentence so neatly sums up a powerful new trend. Penned last June by insurance writer Barbara Marquand ("Meet your new claims inspector: a drone"), the statement heralds a new era for property claims. "Rather than climbing onto a roof, an insurance company representative pilots a drone," Marquand said. "The drone takes pictures and video while the operator stays safely on the ground."
The result? A job that normally takes no less than an hour can be completed in just ten or 20 minutes – no slip-resistant boots required.
While the approach has its limitations (drones can miss smaller damages, and they can't be used near airports or military bases), it's become an important tool for big names like Allstate, Farmers, Nationwide and Liberty Mutual. In fact, according to Air Worldwide, drones are transforming the industry:
Drones have the potential to make claims adjusters' workflow 40-50 percent more efficient
They can streamline data collection on a specific property before a policy is issued, making it easier to offer personalized premiums
The aerial imagery they collect equips catastrophe model developers and users with more and better data, supporting a range of things from engineering analysis to claims data quality
Drones can capture images of insured properties prior to loss, making fraud trickier by documenting the before and after
When integrated with AI, drones can perform many automated functions, further expediting claims and bringing costs down
According to Accenture, a twenty-minute drone flight "can take 350 images of a property and help find moisture trapped in roofs, produce 3D models and elevation maps, calculate flood risk, and more."
These efforts didn't eliminate the need for adjusters to climb on roofs or venture inside damaged structures. But they did make a difference at a time when the need for adjusters heavily outweighed their availability.
In the case of Citizens, for example, the hurricane response this year was "noticeably improved" from 2004 and 2005, when 2,000 adjusters had to handle more than 123,000 claims, saddling hundreds of homeowners with delays.
Beyond inspecting roofs, drones can fly into fire-damaged buildings, manufacturing plants, and places where chemical toxicity is suspected. "The French global insurer AXA reported in 2016 that it was using drones in a variety of applications in France, Switzerland, Belgium, Mexico, and Turkey," Accenture said.
Interested in deploying drones?
When evaluating a drone solution for your P&C claims department, Rosalie Bartlett at the drone firm Kespry suggested you look for the following functionality:
Pro tip: don't let your drones collide with aircraft. According to Insurance Journal, new research commissioned by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration found that the "millions of small civilian drones plying the nation’s skies can cause significant damage to airliners and business jets in a midair collision."
The FedNat Insured Web is a great tool for our insureds!
They like having a centralized location to view policy info, make payments, upload policy documents, and elect to become paperless to receive a discount.
The insureds also can file a First Notice of Loss for a claim and access exiting claim info. Silvervine recently enhanced the site which allows insureds to upload policy documents directly to their policy. The uploaded docs go directly into our workflows and save a lot of manual effort on our part.
From my visits with agents, the agents appreciate the app for the amount of time saved on having to download and attach photos directly to the policy.
The app can also reduce the amount of staff required for a busy office to fulfill underwriting requests for photos.
When training agents they are amazed at how quickly the photos attach directly to the policy. After taking photos using the app and before they make it back to their desk, the photo is already attached to the policy. They also like the ability to attach additional photos for pre-existing damage.
Customer Service is seeing an improvement with retention as the text message definitely triggers phone calls from insureds to make payments.
The insureds love the fact that we notify them on their phones because they state that sometimes they don’t receive their mail for various reasons.
The insureds are paying more attention to the texts then to their actual mail. We try to set all of our customers up on that option if we notice that they are not currently enrolled, as it builds great customer relations as well as retention.
As a company we have adopted the use of Policy Scan for all our policies, and our agents have adopted the use of the app as well.
Not only is it easy to use, there is also no more worrying about losing photos, having to store photos or photos being attached to the wrong policy.
With Policy Scan we have increased efficiency in our workflow and reduced our exposure on the risk.
Silvervine’s core administration solutions easily handles multiple carriers within multiple states, including accounting, payment processing, immediate policy issuance and endorsements.
What started out writing one product, one line in one state has now grown into mulitple products, multiple lines and writing in multiple states. We have over $95 million in annualized premium in-force and we expect to grow by 20% during the next year all serviced by Silvervine.
Silvervine was our insurance software system of choice when we started the company in 2006. Silvervine enabled us to begin business within a few months of licensing the company. Today, we are one of the top 20 homeowner’s writers in Texas and SIlvervine’s solutions have been an integral part of our success.