The COVID-19 pandemic is changing the way that people interact and businesses operate. In a world where lockdown measures and social distancing have become the norm, contactless drone inspections will become more valuable to insurers.
According to GlobalData’s latest Quarterly Tech Trends Survey, 35% of firms in the insurance industry cited to be investing in drone technology. However, a larger proportion of firms (68%) expect the technology to have a disruptive influence on the sector. While it was anticipated that drone technology would eventually take off in the inspection of large areas – namely, in commercial property and casualty insurance, as well as in the agricultural space – coronavirus is highlighting more than ever the benefits that the technology can bring to the industry.
Drones are particularly useful for inspecting large-scale and difficult-to-reach infrastructure as well as vast areas of land. The value proposition of drones had centered on the speed and safety they offer in loss adjustments, which ultimately resulted in operational efficiencies and cost savings. However, physical assessments are much less viable in the era of coronavirus, social distancing, and quarantine measures. Keeping human contact to a minimum has not only become important, but sometimes strictly necessary because of lockdowns or parties – loss adjusters, claims handlers, or policyholders – self-isolating. This means that, for instance, walking through a damaged property with a policyholder may no longer be feasible.
In a world ruled by social distancing, drone technology will become more widespread in insurance as natural disasters hit different geographies. Climate change has worsened extreme weather conditions such as hurricanes, floods, and tsunamis as well as non-weather natural disasters like earthquakes, volcanoes, and wildfires. After a disaster during coronavirus lockdowns, home insurers can use drones to inspect properties while still social distancing. Furthermore, coronavirus will broaden the use of drone technology from commercial to home insurance.
At a time when many insurers have been badly hit by the pandemic, technology that has the potential to bring operational savings will likely lure the industry. On the other hand, customers will benefit from quicker claims processing and faster payouts.
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