Super storms are raging across the world, and with hundreds of billions of dollars of damage to homes across parts of America, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands of late, assessing the damage these storms have wreaked, is proving big business for drone companies.
Drone companies authorized by the Federal Aviation Administration and contracted to conduct storm assessment with insurance and utility companies, have been busy inspecting homes, electrical lines and gas and oil refineries to assess and document storm damage after the recent hurricanes, Harvey, Irma and Maria.
Why are storms such big business for drone companies?
Insurance companies in recent years, have begun to rely heavily on drones to try and help them get ahead amidst the deluge of claims. Drones have the capability to conduct inspections and collect data in areas that may not be accessible by vehicles, or which are simply too dangerous for humans to go near. They are helping adjusters to determine the level of damage and estimate how much should be awarded in pay outs, and since there are simply not enough adjusters out there to cover all the damaged properties, drone companies are proving invaluable.
Drones, with 3-D imaging and 4K cameras, can detect damage even to shingle on a Roof; their accurate rooftop inspections can then be given to the adjusters who generate analytic reports within a matter of minutes.
Drones also have the capacity to drastically reduce the amount of time each inspection takes; with a human adjuster, a ladder and a camera, the average inspection takes around an hour at a minimum, whereas with a drone, inspection time can be reduced to a mere fifteen minutes.
Which storm proved the catalyst for drone companies?
Hurricane Harvey was the first storm after which many drone companies found their services being called for. Drone companies began by assessing damage caused to the infrastructure of buildings, and assisted energy and utility companies in finding out whether or not it was safe to send humans in to begin clean-up efforts.
Farmers Insurance, a large U.S. based insurance company, began deploying drones to help with inspections after Hurricane Harvey hit, too, and they now have their own team of drone pilot-adjusters.
What does the future hold for drones and storm assessment?
It’s widely predicted that as aerial technology and data analytics advance, there will be a fundamental change to the way in which customers will make claims after a storm has hit, and in how insurance companies make pay outs to those customers with damage to their homes or properties.
Particularly where damage to roofs is involved, human adjusters may one day need never to attend the property to assess the damage, instead the data will be collected with drones and processed with software that then sends the reports straight to the adjusters’ computers.
As the saying goes, one mans’ misery is another mans’ gain, and so in the aftermath of the destruction caused by many recent and particularly lethal storms, drone companies are at least reaping some reward.