Insurance cos bet big on drones

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Insurance cos bet big on dronesSwati Rathor | tnn | Mar 12, 2019, 04:41 ISTHyderabad: The general insurance industry that has been deploying several tech tools to improve service delivery, is now betting big usage of drone technologies to speed up the process of risk assessment, monitoring, damage assessment and record keeping, among others to bring in efficiencies.
Sanjay Datta, chief (underwriting and claims), ICICI Lombard General Insurance, pointed out that as insurance regulator IRDAI moots changes in norms for surveyors to ensure speedy settlement, the usage of emerging technologies such as drones can reduce claim settlement time.
Datta explained that drone technologies can be used in instances where insurance companies’ personnel either find a location very difficult or risky to access. Besides, if there is a higher cost involved in sending staff to a location, especially in cases where choppers need to be pressed into services (like in the case of natural disasters), drones can be a better option.
“The biggest advantage is that drones are able to capture images in a standardised manner that human beings cannot. One can analyse and act accordingly based on the images,” he said. ICICI Lombard General Insurance has used drone technology in the area of crop insurance in Gujarat to assess the quantum of cultivable land and actual yield.
Taposh Nandi, senior vice-president and national head (claims commercial lines), Tata AIG General Insurance Company Ltd, pointed out that besides the regular usage of drones in weather insurance for crop assessment and risk assessment of solar and wind farms during the underwriting process, the company has also been extensively using the technology in the claims settlement process.
“For instance, back in 2016, when the south-east coast was hit by Cyclone Vardha, we deployed drones for primary assessment of infrastructural damage caused to property spread over nearly 70 acres within four hours and processed the data within a day, which otherwise would have taken 10-12 days via manual operations. Claims settlement was effected within two week of the loss, which highlights the tremendous potential of this technology in providing superior service to the customer,” he explained.
Meanwhile, Cigna TTK Health Insurance Company Ltd MD and CEO Prasun Sikdar said drone technology can come in handy in the case of accidents, where it is important to file an insurance claim as soon as possible. “In some cases, it can be difficult for insurance claims adjusters to safely reach a scene and document it promptly. Thus, to assist in processing claims more quickly, drone technology can be used to take photos of an accident scene and insurers can use that collected data to verify claim details submitted by the insured,” he explained.
“Insurance companies are already deploying mobile technology, wearable tech, telemedicine and information sharing platforms to enhance customer service proposition and in the foreseeable future, drones along with other technologies like blockchain, analytics and artificial intelligence will assume many tasks to improve business functions, including claims management and underwriting,” Cigna TTK Health Insurance Company Ltd MD and CEO Prasun Sikdar
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