Drones have been used by the military since the early 2000’s, and by civilian hobbyists for much of the last ten years. Recently, commercial use of drone technology has been rapidly expanding as more and more businesses discover how drones can help them improve business processes.
This includes the insurance industry, which stands to benefit extensively from the innovations in drone technology. In fact, the emerging global market for drone use for business services is estimated at $128 billion, with the insurance industry expected to see $6.8 billion of that total.
WeGoLook’s COO, Kenneth Knoll, recently participated in a panel discussion on drone technology at the Contractor Connection conference in St. Louis. Over 3,000 professionals attended the session, demonstrating the exceptional interest drones are receiving from the business community. Here are some of the important developments discussed during the session regarding drone technology and, in particular, how it will impact the insurance industry.
Safer, More Efficient Roof Inspections
“It’s dangerous to put people on roofs,” says Knoll. “And as you might imagine, it isn’t cheap to carry insurance on the activity either. Drones are a win-win here. They keep people off roofs and, at the same time, capture much more detailed and thorough roof imagery.”
The benefits of deploying drone technology for roof inspections are obvious when one considers the alternatives. For a relatively low cost, a drone operator can benchmark damage across a number of properties to give insurers a clearer picture of damaged assets.
More Comprehensive Underwriting
When it comes to underwriting, the more information a carrier has, the better. But often underwriters have to make underwriting decisions with minimal information. Drones can provide underwriters with more comprehensive data. By capturing high-resolution visuals from a unique vantage point. drones can help inspectors evaluate roof material, slope, property type and more. They can even be used to survey auxiliary property features looking for areas of risk such as pools, trampolines, outdoor fireplaces, and even pets.
Quicker Catastrophe Response
When catastrophes such as floods, hurricanes, tornados or earthquakes occur, it is important for insurance adjusters and CAT response units to assess and evaluate damage as quickly and efficiently as possible. Given that there are about 500 natural disasters in the world per year, any technology that increases the efficiency of an insurer’s response can make a big impact. Drones can be extremely helpful in this capacity. As Knoll explains, “By leveraging drones, carriers can collect information much more quickly and can assist their customers more efficiently during times of distress..”
And So Much More
In the future, sensors and cameras carried by drones will not only be capable of inspecting the outer surfaces of buildings but also able to peer further inside the structures themselves. This, plus further advances in crop inspections and 3D modeling will enable drones to capture more information about damage to or potential risks associated with properties. The possibilities are endless!
Drone technology is truly changing the insurance industry. In fact, by the year 2020, insurance is expected to be one of the top five markets served by commercial drones. This is not surprising when you consider the many significant areas of impact discussed above.
Few would argue the benefits of drone technology, but realizing these benefits can be a challenge. That’s why WeGoLook is committed to helping insurance carriers leverage a drone workforce. With our growing networks of licensed drone operators and our ability to implement sophisticated, automated workflows in the field, WeGoLook is at the forefront of bringing drone technology to the insurance sector.