7 ways drones improve insurance operations

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There’s been a lot of excitement over the potential of drones in the future before us: as package delivery vehicles, as eyes in the sky for farmers, and even as flying taxis that can carry one or two humans. But

Insurers also love drones. As documented in a recent Deloitte report, insurance is ahead of the pack when it comes to drone deployments. For insurers, the use of drones “better risk management through improved data collection, analysis, and actionable insights; and reduced operational costs through improved efficiency and effectiveness in claims adjudication, claims processing, and customer experience,” the analysis from Akash Tayal and Nikhilesh Ramani, both with Deloitte, state. They also note that insurers were securing Federal Aviation Administration permission “as early as 2015 to use drones for aerial data collection, catastrophe response, research and development, underwriting, and claims resolution support.”

Drone adoption has only grown since that point -- with more insurers, as well as insurtech companies, making use of drones. For example, they write, Allstate has employed drones “to significantly reduced the time it takes to issue a repair estimate after a customer reports damage to as little as 4.5 days.” Betterview, an insurtech devoted to using drones for property inspections, “has executed more than 6,000 rooftop inspections in the last two years.”

So how do insurers benefit from drones? Tayal and Ramani tell us:

· Risk engineering and pricing: “Aerial site assessments can identify property features that allow the owner either to seek a reduced risk profile or to take appropriate actions to lower overall risk and justify premium discounts.”

· Natural disaster monitoring: “Drones can be quickly and safely deployed to monitor areas threatened by natural disasters. Governments working with insurance companies can monitor a situation and alert local residents to potential danger.”

· Inspection: “Drones can provide a safer, faster, and more cost-effective way to conduct a site inspection, particularly in challenging working conditions.”

· Claims adjudication: “The precise photos that drones take can potentially improve the quality of the claims adjudication process.”

· Fraud prevention: “The moment a property claim is reported (First Notice of Loss), a drone could be deployed to inspect the claims site, increasing information capture accuracy and timeliness.”

· Improved transaction processing: “Move from dangerous, hands-on, time-intensive property inspections to a much faster process that allows their workforce to keep both feet firmly planted on the ground; reduce claims settlement time from days to hours; and help adjusters and underwriters obtain information 10 times faster than traditional methods.”

· Employee safety: “Drones allow adjusters to remain in a safe area during site inspection, minimizing their exposure to accidents and hazardous conditions.”

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