Canadian Underwriter

How tech is helping insurers mitigate equipment breakdown losses

August 17, 2022   by Alyssa DiSabatino

A person wearing goggles and controlling a drone in the sky

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The use of drones has accelerated some loss control operations in equipment breakdown insurance, but there are pros and cons to using these technology advancements says Doug Laurin, Director, National Energy & Equipment Breakdown at Intact.

A benefit is that some technological advancements can be particularly useful for identifying potential breakdowns ahead of time. For example, drones can be used to mitigate future losses by sweeping inaccessible areas that humans couldn’t otherwise reach.

“You have drones, for example, flying around the mining operation or a power plant, and it can sense hotspots and different issues that could lead to breakdown,” says Laurin.

Other new technologies, such as sensors and centrally monitored alarm systems, can help prevent or mitigate equipment breakdown losses. “If there’s a breakdown of a boiler causing a loss of water from it, that sensor goes off and somebody’s notified via an alarm,” says Laurin.

The use of drones may also prevent plants from shutting down while loss control inspections take place, meaning business remains uninterrupted.

“When you’re thinking about writing power plants [or a mining company or large manufacturer], where you can’t really get in and look at it easily without shutting the operation down, you can send a drone in and take a look for hotspots and different things like that on a regular basis, and that’ll help mitigate future losses,” says Laurin.

Whiles drones have their pros, one possible pitfall is that drones can reach spots that humans can’t often access, including damp, dusty or very hot areas, which could damage the drone. So, loss control engineers should be aware of this when using drones.

“Our engineers will help the client understand how to prevent that, what kind of things they can try to avoid,” Laurin said.

Overall though, Laurin says these tech advancements lead to fewer breakdowns. “Our engineers will help the client understand how to prevent shutdowns, and what kind of preventative measures to do to avoid long downtimes,” Laurin explains.


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