Canadian Underwriter

Catastrophe event? Where’s the company drone?

January 12, 2018   by David Gambrill

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Using drone technology to process high volumes of claims during catastrophe events is one of several ways the claims process may become automated in the future, RSA Canada reports.

“Drone-type technology (satellite and remote camera technologies) will enable us to expedite the handling and processing of high volume claims in an efficient and timely manner while maintaining optimal customer service during certain catastrophic-type events,” the company told Canadian Underwriter, when asked about claims trends going forward in 2018.

For example, in the case of strong winds and storm events, when there is an influx of property claims with roof or exterior home damage, drone technology is capable of providing a company with measurements and data using visual footage of the damage.

“[Drone technology can] provide measurements of the damaged areas without the need to send and wait on a contractor or roofing company to attend each location of loss for a quote,” RSA Canada said. “Therefore, it enables us to process a larger number of claims in a shorter period without the necessity of external vendors, thus creating an optimal customer experience overall as their claim is settled quickly.”

Insurers relied on drone technology to assess property damage during the 2016 wildfires in Fort McMurray, Alta., which caused approximately $3.8 billion in insured losses.

Calgary-based Ventus Geospatial received emergency clearance in 2016 to operate an unmanned aircraft over the areas affected by the wildfire. The initial risk assessment was completed by Opta Information Intelligence (Opta), a technology and analytics company serving the Canadian P&C industry, using AI imaging.

“The images allowed insurers to see what percentage of the homes were damaged by fire,” says Greg McCutcheon, president of Opta, said in an Insurance Institute of Canada Trends Report. “There is a lot of interpretation involved in assessing damage based on images. A lot of technology was used to identify all these features.”

Kespry, a California-based aerial intelligence solution provider, says drones “dramatically decrease claim cycle times,” allowing insurers to settle three times as many claims per day while reducing overall costs. Kespry technology is used in a number of different types of damage claims, including farm damage after storms.

CRU Adjusters, an independent adjusting firm specializing in customized claims handling solutions in Canada and the United States, announced in July 2017 a collaboration with Kespry’s industrial drone platform to power CRU’s drone division for adjusting property claims.

Kyle Winston, president of the CRU Group, said at the time that Kespry’s drone technology “further enhances how we handle and process claims, as well as underwriting elevations and pre-loss reporting.”