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Touchless drone inspections key competitive differentiator for property market during social distancing and lockdown

According to propertycasualty360, drones and cloud-based analytics can be rapidly applied to the property inspection business.

With today’s covid-19 social distancing and lockdown, a trend towards “touchless” drone-based roof inspections is increasing. Many of the world’s leading insurers and third party administrators (TPAs) are already using drone-based analytics to reduce the time spent on property inspections, particularly after damage caused by severe weather.

Insurers and TPAs are now taking those technologies and integrating them into a fully-touchless model. This means the inspector can simply arrive at a property, fly a drone over it and leave without having to directly engage with the home owner or occupant. This enables everyone to fully adhere to the social distancing and lockdown responsibilities instituted by Governments around the world, while still getting the job done.

The way this new model works is a representative from an insurer or TPA contacts the property owner or occupant by phone or email to arrange for an inspection. The agreement is signed off on using one of the many electronic document signature services available, and a time for the inspection is arranged.

Upon arriving at the property, the inspector sends a text message to the resident. The inspector sets up and flies the drone, captures the data, and then notifies them with another text letting them know the inspection is complete and leaves the premises.

 The drone data is then uploaded to one of today’s modern cloud-based drone analytics platforms, where it’s analysed using AI to determine the scope of damage that may need to be addressed. The platforms typically create 3-D models, property-wide views, in addition to the standard sectional photographs captured. The inspector packages those visuals, along with an assessment, and sends it all electronically to the owner or occupant.

From there, dialog continues by email, text, video meeting, or phone call and a claims outcome is determined and communicated. If an invoice is involved, it can also be sent electronically, and the customer can pay it online. From start to finish, no-one has had to actually meet another person face-to-face. The entire spectrum of the inspection from initial outreach to claims decision occurs electronically.

Until the pandemic subsides, the touchless inspection approach is both valuable and critical for business continuity. It also helps decrease any liability for the insurer or TPA over concerns about covid-19 exposure.

Touchless inspections will become a significant customer expectation. It will also be a competitive differentiator for insurers and TPAs moving forward. Making the transition to touchless is seamless and straightforward. Drones, cloud-based analytics, and the plethora of electronic communication tools available can be rapidly combined into an approach that makes the inspection experience a worry-free and effective experience for all.

(Pic: Shutterstock)

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