Drones in Insurance?
Back in September last year my friends Anshul (had just left a job offer from Rolls Royce in Singapore) and Arunabha (who after a bout of cancer came out strong and was working as an OSD with an Indian Intelligence organisation) decided to join me on my birthday to a trip to Pondicherry. We all found something missing in our lives and wanted to do something that we could while we were young so after many beers we decided that we'd start working on a project. The essence was to explore the Indian drone market because we'd always been making things that took to the sky's (till date I prefer a window seat just so I can look outside). To our surprise we were not really ready for how big the market was going to be.
Drones seem the be the new buzz word around, quite literally. In developed markets such as the US and Europe. Drones have been a part of insurance for a while now. Take this case study for example.
Drone Map Saves Insurance Company Over 99 Million Euros
A major fire broke out at a vacation destination on the coast of France and consumed more than 2 hectares (5 acres), destroying over 80 small housing units with damage valued at over 100 million euros. A liability claim for a 100 Million euros was filed and an adjuster was assigned.
The sheer size of the site posed a unique challenge. To make matters worse, many of the roofs damaged by fire were made of thatch and were not strong enough to support a surveyor climbing on them to inspect damage. The loss adjuster quickly realized that it would be very difficult to get a clear picture of what had happened from the ground.
For this purpose a company called Dronotec was contacted by the insurer and their aerial mapping services were utilized. Information collected on site by the loss adjuster and insurance inspector, as well as meteorological data about wind direction, was added to the plan generated by Dronotec as notes, comments and measurements.
The main issue at stake was how the fire had spread and who was responsible as this would determine the insurer’s liability. As the team began analyzing the map, several theories emerged.
A thorough analysis of the drone data along with the adjuster’s findings revealed that the fire had started in one of the housing units and spread to the claimant’s premises. As the housing units were not on the insurer’s client’s property a valid liability could not be established and the claim was rejected saving the insurance company over 99 Million Euros.
I am an insurance adjuster and had been involved with multiple high value claims and the sole reason this venture was started was because I only wished that I had access to this sort of data when a large claim was received. Insurance coverage changes with the geographical landscape and there is no one better than an insurance adjuster to comprehend a policy, understand the claim and further assist the insurance company on how and where to utilize this drone data.
I've always felt that a business proposition is useless if it does not benefit both parties in play. With the amount of actionable data that the insurance companies can have access to with our services is not quantifiable. It would be an understatement if I say that companies can make the money they invest in us back within the first day and save more over that.
We all understand the principle of Utmost good faith but rarely is it followed. For example an adjuster could not get a good view of certain things over a site which were not damaged initially but claimed later in the claim bill such as saved DG stacks, Saved solar Panels among other things which are never really damaged but always end up forming a part of the claim.
Along with that with the new draft of the DGCA drone regulations released it is mandatory for drones to have liability insurance. We have a large pool of operators that the insurance company can benefit out of by providing insurance to a diversified portfolio of operators and equipment.
The market for drones in insurance is boundless, some estimate that we Could Have a $500M U.S. Drone Insurance Market by 2020 India would also catch up sooner or later. So why not tap into it, the time is now.
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