Hail from a recent TX hailstorm
There is a new weapon in the fight against hail: drones. Recent hail storms have rocked states like Texas, which has already experienced more than $1.36 billion in hail losses in 2016. The previous record was $1.1 billion in 1995. Hail storms have been hitting US cities with more frequency and severity.
Every time a hail storm hits, roofers descend on the hail hit areas. Many of these roofers are just looking to get an honest piece of the roof repair business that will come from such a storm. However, there is a growing part of the industry that uses hail (and other types of storms) as an opportunistic fraud engine for their business. These roofers will go door-to-door and promise a free new roof, paid for by their insurance company, if they sign on the dotted line. The roofer will then damage the roof or misrepresent pre-existing damage to the insurance company to ensure a full payout. To make matters worse, they will then install a low quality roof and skip town by the time the roof starts to fail prematurely, maybe as soon as the next storm.
This problem is getting worse. In Texas alone, there are over 11,000 lawsuits each year against insurers related to hail claims.
How drones can help
Drones are changing insurance processes in many ways but one of the most interesting uses of this technology can be seen around preventing fraudulent roof claims. Drones are being used during the underwriting process to provide a “baseline” for what the roof looks like at a given day/time. Getting this baseline allows insurers to know the condition of the roof from the time of policy issuance. They will know what damage was there before they insured it.
Drones allow for fast, cost effective, safe and thorough roof inspections. Roof inspections of the past which required roofers to go onto the roof were NOT safe, NOT cost effective, NOT fast and NOT thorough. Roof inspections by roofers are also biased. Many roofers want to find issues so they can sell a new roof. Using drone based technology you can capture every inch of a roof with photos and not just what a roofer wanted you to see.
Drone based photo shows previous Hail damage
Once a baseline roof inspection is done any issues that pre-date the policy can be addressed with the insured. Recommendations can be generated to have the insured fix any issues and thus giving an insurer a better risk to insurer and the building owner a safer roof.
If a roof claim comes in at a later date the drone can fly the exact same pattern as before. This allows the insurer to quickly see what was new damage and what was pre-existing. Within a matter of days the insurer can know if they have a legitimate claim to pay or a fraudulent one. The insurer saves time, money, and is also confident in their decision.
The most exposed part of any building is the roof. Drones allow for fast, safe, cost effective and through roof analysis that can save insurers hundreds of millions a dollars a year in fraudulent roof claims.
Betterview uses drones to inspect buildings for insurance companies.