So, imagine this: You sign up a customer to replace their hail damaged roof. The customer files a claim and the insurance company schedules a roof inspection. But an adjuster never actually comes to climb the roof, inspect for damage, take pictures and write an estimate. Instead, an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) – or Drone – arrives from the sky… hovers around the property from angle to angle for a bit… and then flies away a short time later.
It’s coming soon to a hail storm near you…
The insurance company sends a drone instead of an adjuster to do the work that an adjuster would normally do (at least most of it anyway), faster, more efficient and less costly. Drones already have the capability to do most of the tasks that an adjuster needs to accomplish when visiting a property. A drone could arguably access certain areas easier than an adjuster could. No more setting up heavy ladders, climbing risky roofs (and managing to stay safe in the process), photographing multiple areas of the roof from various angles, etc. Drones can do all of this.
It’s on the way…
We aren’t saying that drones can do ALL the things that adjusters do, making their roles obsolete. Not at all; on the contrary. Instead, an adjuster can still be assigned to the claim and be responsible for taking it from the filing, to an approval, inspections, re-inspections, funding, admin, etc. It’s just that the adjuster will be able to these things faster, more detailed, more efficiently, less traveling and less cost. Then the adjuster can handle more claims. He or she can now simply dispatch the drone to complete the exterior inspection phase of the workload.
Imagine the endless possibilities of what we’re talking about here. Big changes are coming…
Drones are making their way off the battlefield and into the mainstream for commercial applications. After a years-long blanket ban on drones for commercial usage, the Federal Aviation Administration in late March awarded 48 waivers for commercial drone use and established an interim policy to accelerate authorizations. The FAA has cleared the country’s three largest property insurers– State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., United Services Automobile Association (USAA) and American International Group Inc. (AIG) – to use the unmanned aircraft systems for claims inspections.
Nationwide, which is in the top five U.S. property and casualty insurers with about $15 billion in annual net written premiums, could be next to implement the technology that’s entered several industries where allowed under FAA rules.
“Nationwide has been exploring the potential benefits of drones and how this technology may help improve the claims process for its members after a loss,” the company said in an statement. “The use of drones would enable us to gain access to damage-stricken areas that might otherwise be inaccessible.”
If you want to learn more about this subject, current regulations and how all of it impacts the insurance industry, we encourage you to read an excellent article by Randall Ishikawa of PropertyCasualty360.com HERE.