26 June 2024

The Effective Use of Drone Mapping in Insurance Claim Preparation After Heavy Rain Events

BY: Marina Troye | IN: Articles

Introduction

In the last few years, the insurance industry has seen a significant increase in claims due to extreme weather events. Drone mapping has emerged as one of the valuable technologies for assisting in the preparation and assessment of insurance claims. At CCi, a Rimkus Company, we are increasingly using this technology to help support the accurate assessment of damage to insured property and to calculate and verify the associated repair costs. The accuracy and efficiency of drone mapping has played a crucial role in swiftly evaluating damage caused by extreme weather.

What Is Drone Mapping?

Extreme weather, such as a one in 100-year rainfall event, can cause substantial damage to construction projects. These events present major challenges to insurers, loss adjusters and brokers, and other service providers including quantity surveyors in assessing the extent of the damage quickly and precisely. Traditional evaluation methods, which often involve manual inspections and surveys, can be time-consuming and may not always fully capture damage due to access limitations.

Drone mapping technology addresses these challenges by providing comprehensive, high-resolution views of affected areas. Drones equipped with advanced imaging sensors can efficiently survey large areas and collect detailed damage data. This data is then used to create precise 3D maps and models of impacted sites, accurately representing the damage. 

The Advantages of Drone Mapping

One of the key advantages of drone mapping is its ability to access hazardous areas that are difficult or unsafe for human inspectors. For instance, in the case of a landslide along a highway, drones can gather data safely and efficiently without risking human lives. This significantly reduces the time needed to assess the damage and assists the claims process. 

There are many drone mapping software solutions on the market, each with its own unique features, strengths, and primary application area, such as DroneDeploy, Pix4D, Propeller Aero, Site Scan for ArcGIS, DroneMaps, and Agisoft Metashape.

CCi's Drone Mapping Expertise

CCi recently undertook insurance claims preparation involving the tracking and measurement of damage and reinstatement works on a highway impacted by recent extreme rain event in Auckland, New Zealand. Following these weather events, drone mapping survey data was used to document and evaluate the extent of landslides, slumping, and soil erosion at the highway construction site.  

Moreover, drone mapping surveys also offered a detailed record of the recovery work performed based on flythroughs, full timeline visualisations, and measurements to compare areas, volume, and elevations between survey datasets. This capability enabled the continuous monitoring and verification of restoration efforts. Not only did this make the claim evaluation process more efficient, but also ensured the integrity of the reinstated works.

Where Next?

Future integration of AI with drone mapping technology can only further enhance its utility in the insurance industry. AI algorithms could potentially analyse drone-collected data to identify and quantify damage precisely, reducing human error in dataset comparisons. This would ensure consistent, objective damage assessments and track recovery effectiveness for planned reinstatement work. Additionally, it may anticipate future damage based on current trends and historical data.

The capacity for the adoption of drone mapping technology in the insurance industry, be it in claims or risk management, represents a leap forward. By providing accurate, high-resolution data and potential AI integration for detailed analyses, drone mapping offers a powerful tool to assess damage efficiently, manage claims promptly, and monitor recovery activities. As this technology continues to advance, it is expected to increasingly enhance the resilience and responsiveness of the insurance industry in addressing natural disasters.

About the Author

Marina Troye
Senior Consultant, Auckland
For information about our Insurance services

Disclaimer

This article aims to offer insights into the prevailing industry practices related to insurance claims. Nonetheless, it should not be construed as legal or professional advice in any form.