The proliferation and improvement of satellite and aerial photography has led to a major increase in the amount of geospatial data insurers have consumed over the past several years. The opportunity wasn't lost on Airbus, which lauched an aerial imagery services division in May. That company uses a range of aircraft, including manned planes, drones and satellites, to get data for commercial use.

"There's already been manned aircraft services for insurance," says Jesse Kallman, president of Airbus Aerials, who has been working in the sector for more than a decade and worked with insurance companies in a previous job at Airware. "What's changing is the ability to use different tools. Where manned aircraft can't cover enough area, satellite can; where it may not be enough data or resolution, drones come in."

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