Adapting to a New Reality

Drone-Based, Touchless Property Inspections Enhance Claims Processes During COVID-19 and Storm Season
As states across the country continue to report increases in COVID-19 cases, it’s clear that the pandemic is far from over. Natural disasters and severe weather events during the pandemic are creating further problems for states that are left to battle everything at the same time.

Natural disasters are battering the U.S. in ways we’ve not seen before. The West Coast alone has been ravaged by wildfires and lightning storms that weren’t predicted, and the Midwest is dealing with the aftermath of an extremely damaging derecho wind storm. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s annual Atlantic hurricane forecast confirmed the nation should prepare for between 13-19 named storms this year — Delta is the 25th. All of these disasters have caused immense damage to cities, homes and other property. These catastrophes are making for an extremely difficult storm season across the entire country and are likely to become the norm moving forward.

So what does that mean for insurance carriers and claims? There’s a clear need to reevaluate processes to ensure claims professionals are able to safely complete inspections for property owners.

One solution that many leading, innovative insurers already implemented prior to COVID-19 and this year’s storm season is the use of autonomous, drone-based claims analysis. By leveraging aerial intelligence platforms, insurers can provide customers with a significant increase in reliability, accuracy and transparency through every property inspection.

Drone-based claims analysis is particularly effective during the pandemic, as it gives insurance adjusters and roofing contractors the ability to complete roof inspections without ever coming in contact with the property owner or occupant. Thanks to the ability to offer touchless inspections, all communication with customers is done over the phone or via email, and necessary documents are signed electronically ahead of time.

A drone flown over the damaged property autonomously conducts the inspection using artificial intelligence, and then makes the related images and data available in the cloud.

This data is then analyzed with machine learning algorithms to identify damage and create highly accurate 3-D models and property-wide views. With these assets in hand, transparency and the customer experience are enhanced. All parties are able to analyze the extent of the storm damage and determine the best path forward to a solution.

This year’s storm season has been one for the books so far, and it’s likely that this could become the new normal for our country each year. Coupled with the continued fight against COVID-19, 2020 has made for an extremely difficult year, especially for those in the insurance industry. However, the good news is there are solutions available to enhance current processes and adapt to today’s reality.

Insurers must continue to provide essential services in these times, particularly with the amount of storm damage occurring across the country. Touchless inspections via drones offer a safer, more accurate way of documenting property damage, and enable insurance carriers to continue providing the best possible service to their policyholders. After all, flexibility and willingness to implement new procedures to consistently meet the needs of customers are crucial to keeping businesses afloat during these trying times. Touchless inspections are essential to the future of the insurance industry—both during the pandemic and beyond.

George Mathew is Chairman and CEO of Kespry.