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Drones and Insurance: Capturing the data is only part of the solution

Posted by Patricia Pepper on

There is nearly universal agreement that drones will have a major impact on the insurance industry, but there are still a lot of questions about how insurance companies will turn drone-captured data into actionable information that can be used to drive real business decisions that enhance service and prevent losses.

The promise of how broadly drones will be used for the insurance industry has helped spur significant investment in commercial drone hardware and software companies over the past few years. This money has driven noticeable advancements in drone tech that powers data capture (the actual flight and capture of photos/video). It is estimated that 2016 will see a billion dollars invested in drones. There are several promising companies working on these foundations that can be used by insurance companies. However, most of these systems are built with the assumption that insurance companies will build internal structures to put drones into the field, fly them and do the analysis.

That is a lofty assumption. Most insurance companies do not have pilots on staff and rarely do they have expert analysts. Currently, experts in roofing are not employed by the large insurance companies. For example, a LinkedIn search of State Farm Insurance employees with a job title containing “roof” returns zero employees in that role.

To unlock the true value of all the data that can be captured by drones, you also need experts in the loop to analyze that data. Insurance companies will want to tap point expertise in roofing, building facade, fire/brush, asphalt and pavement, safety planning, flooding, and more to get to the insights they need to make better decisions. These experts will need processes and systems to analyze the vast amounts of data remotely and provide context to it so that insurance companies can make intelligent decisions on the findings. Drones Live view discovered after our very first job for an insurance company that a photo of a roof is only helpful if you have the expertise to show what is (or is not) wrong with that roof and why.

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