In the normal course of its business, a property/casualty insurance company will assess the condition of a potential policyholder’s property to gauge the appropriate risk and coverage for the property. In many cases, the property may include spaces where access is restricted or dangerous to examine, such as a pitched roof. Rather than subject its personnel to undue risk, an insurance company can use a UAS to examine areas that are limited in access. This can provide data more quickly and with fewer hazards to company employees.
Similarly, when damage or loss occurs at policyholder locations, properly accessing the actual damage can subject insurance company personnel to physical danger and bodily risk. In many cases, a UAS can provide the needed access and assessment remotely, limiting the danger to insurance company personnel.
Insurance companies responding to disaster situations have a heightened need and responsibility for property assessments and claims adjudication. In situations with severe and widespread damage, the need for insurance companies to respond quickly and adequately can increase exponentially. Insurance companies are now exploring the use of UAS in claims appraisals in major disasters like Hurricane Katrina and Superstorm Sandy, where the extent of the damage may exceed the number of available inspectors and be inaccessible.
But the insurance use of UAS is not just limited to responding to major disasters. They can also play a key role after regional natural events or disasters that may not cause widespread damage but still affect the property of hundreds of policyholders. In the wake of more localized events such as tornadoes or hailstorms damaging small towns, UAS can provide a more rapid response to assess damage, leading to faster payment of claims.