Source: Tim Bowen

The use of drones and artificial intelligence are allowing insurers to capture information on difficult to reach areas while expediting the claims process.

Helping customers recover and get back to normal from devastating events is the promise that property and casualty insurance carriers make every day. For example, hail storms, often an unexpected peril, can cause serious property damage. In fact, a recent industry report by Verisk indicates that 10.7 million properties in the U.S. were impacted by one or more hail events in 2017. It is business-critical for our industry to rapidly scale, efficiently inspect, and accurately assess property damage to roof surfaces following hail and wind events. How carriers deliver on that promise — an efficient, accurate and humanized claims process — can make all the difference and impact the customer’s outcome.

Embracing InsurTech

As the intensity and frequency of powerful storms and consumers’ customer experience expectations continue to increase, carriers are identifying new technologies to transform the property claims process, not only to improve adjuster safety and efficiency, but also reduce loss adjustment expenses while enhancing the accuracy of the claim settlement.

MetLife Auto & Home identified Loveland Innovations, a provider of property data analytics and A.I. solutions to enhance its current property claims process with automated drones, A.I. and data analytics tools. Over the last five years, the focus on utilizing drone technology in the property and casualty space has accelerated rapidly. Some of the solutions we explored, while extremely innovative, were far from practical to enhance the inspection process. Our approach to deploying drones and other InsurTech solutions has been thoughtful and systematic, including testing, learning and iterating to ensure these innovations not only enhance our business operations but also have a positive impact on our customers.

Rearchitecting the claims process

Loveland Innovations’ IMGING platform uses automated drones and other smart devices for field data capture along with A.I. tools to aid our field adjusters with safely assessing property damage, reporting and claims resolution. The drone flights managed by FAA-certified field adjusters capture data in real-time, providing a three-dimensional digital model of the property that can be explored and measured on-site. The IMGING application allows our adjusters to design the inspection plan for the DJI Mavic 2 Pro drone on their iPhone, validates FAA no-fly zone compliance and executes an autonomous flight inspection of the property. The A.I. built into the platform provides a comprehensive damage assessment of the roof surface for the adjuster to validate and confirm. The photos, data and dimensions of the property are stored on the cloud and easily exported into an estimating platform to support an efficient claim settlement.

One of the early and unexpected learnings has been the high level of real interest expressed by our customers in the drone inspection process. We anticipated that this innovation would generate a higher level of transparency with our customers regarding our inspection findings, but our experience in this area to date has far exceeded expectations. While striving to deliver the best claim experience possible for our customers, and we also want to provide our associates with a dynamic and rewarding work environment.

We have invested in purchasing drone technology, but most important is the investment we are making in our people through this process. We are enrolling them in expanding their capabilities with training sessions, support to secure FAA licensing to operate drones and hands-on experience in the field. We plan to continue scaling this capability with our claim adjusters and plan on enhancing our inspection solutions with an on-demand service in partnership with Loveland in the coming months.

A thoughtful approach to innovation

While it is great to be able to say you are “first to market,” there are significant risks and costs associated with moving too quickly. Technology can’t just be “cool,” it has to be practical and useful for it to enhance business outcomes positively. InsurTech solutions must outperform existing business practices to bring value to the business while improving the experience we deliver for our customers.

Selecting the right InsurTech partner, investing deeply in that relationship and thoughtfully determining when it is the right moment to scale are all crucial decisions. Technology and A.I. capabilities will continue to change rapidly, but I believe it will always come down to our adjusters, winning the trust of our customers’ one claim at a time through our words and actions.