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Get Your Feet Back on the Ground

Robert Regis Hyle | March 29, 2016

While I remain curious about the effectiveness of package delivery via drones, there is no argument about how valuable unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) technology can be for the insurance industry. Modern technology tools always seems to be developed for other industries and insurers latch on to its value later, but in the case of UAVs it’s hard to find a better purpose for them than as a tool for insurers.

In April issue of ITA Pro magazine, we will present an article on the use of drones in dealing with property claims, but before we get there let’s look at the value underwriters can gain from the use of drones as well. The most valuable people working as underwriters (and claims adjusters) typically are those who have been at the job for a long time.

If they are examining risks—or damage—for homeowners’ coverage, they have been up and down ladders for years. They may not have any fear of climbing, even to higher levels of the home, but I’m curious about the accident rate for insurance personnel climbing ladders for inspections in the name of the carrier.

Since insurers are in the business of risk management, shouldn’t they be leading the charge to remove the danger from this aspect of the job? There is a simple reason why roofers want to get off the roof and they climb those ladders more often that adjusters or underwriters.

The beauty of drones is best seen through the eye of the camera attached to the UAV. The ability to obtain crystal-clear images that can be saved and stored for years has to be more valuable than what the brain can store through the human eye. Trained adjusters and underwriters, from a safer vantage point, can view and analyze the effects of wind or hail damage and ascertain how much longer the roof can adequately protect the home underneath.

As we are now in the midst of tornado season in the Midwest and nearing hurricane season on the Atlantic and Gulf coasts, the ability to use drones in assessing damage from catastrophes is a powerful tool. If you’ve ever walked through the devastation caused by an F4 tornado, it can be difficult to focus, even for a veteran, claims adjuster.

People always wonder how modern technology will affect their future employment and who can blame them, but cameras attached to UAVs will never replace a trained claims adjuster. The tools can only enhance their performance after the inspection I complete. On the ground and off of any ladders. 

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