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The insurance industry is an obvious market for professional drone services

The insurance industry is an obvious market for professional drone services. The ability to get ‘eyes in the sky’ is ideal at both the risk assessment and underwriting stage and for assessment of damage should a claim occur. The UK insurance market has been slow to adopt drone technology but there are signs it’s being recognised as an option and at Drone Safe Register we are now receiving enquiries.

Current solutions for viewing hard to access areas include camera poles, scaffolding and access platforms. Camera poles are a quick and cheap solution, but they can only offer views from a static position. Assessing storm damage to a church or large industrial building can be very difficult this way. Scaffolding allows physical access to roofs and hard to reach places, but it can cost hundreds if not thousands of pounds. Arranging scaffolding can take time, and it can be a security risk if left in place.

Drones are a powerful tool for Loss Adjusters and insurance surveyors

Bearing these factors in mind, drones are a powerful tool for Loss Adjusters and insurance surveyors. So why aren’t we seeing greater use? A number of factors are holding things back. Firstly, awareness of practical use of drones is still surprisingly low. At Drone Safe Register we work with experts across industry sectors, including insurance, but it can take time to educate and inform.

Common misconceptions include ‘You can’t fly drones in built-up areas’ and ‘It costs a thousand pounds to get hire a professional drone pilot.’ By its nature, the insurance market is also very risk averse. The thought of a drone that’s assessing damage to a building crashing into it is too much for some to bare, even if the actual risk is miniscule!

In the US, Japan and some other countries drones for claims is a common solution. After major weather events and natural disasters a drone is the perfect tool for assessment. They can be flown into areas inaccessible by road and capture evidence of the extent of damage from a safe distance. As well as helping insurance companies to manage their losses and get claims underway drones can literally be a life saver.

Drone solutions in-house

In the future, insurance companies may develop their own drone solutions in-house. Some have already tried this, but the complexity of buying and maintaining the equipment required, training staff and keeping up to date with changes in the law means outsourcing is a better option.

Climate change and the likely increase in severe weather is one of the major issues of concern to insurance underwriters. A major flood, hurricane or tornado can wipe out years of profits in just a few days. The full extent of September’s Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas is yet to be confirmed, but over 70,000 people are thought to be affected and large areas are devastated. In the future, aerial imagery and data captured by drones will allow analysts to model and predict tragic events like this so that countries can prepare for them.

Drone tech…bringing huge benefits to the world of insurance

As in many industry sectors, drone technology can bring huge benefits to the world of insurance. Underwriters will be able to make more accurate decisions about risk, claims handlers will be able to make more fair assessments and customers will benefit from more efficient processes.

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About the Author: DSR Journalist

Harrison Green

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