​IAG uses drones to assess Victorian bushfire insurance claims

Drones have helped fast track assessment process says insurance firm

A drone's eye view. Image supplied by IAG.

A drone's eye view. Image supplied by IAG.

IAG has used drones to assess damage caused by bushfires in the Great Ocean Road area of Victoria during December.

According to the firm, the use of drones helped it fast track claims.

Drones were used to inspect properties before physical access was granted by authorities, allowing IAG to start processing customer claims.

Aerial imagery shot by the drones also allowed both assessors and customers to review damage from a safe location, removing the risks associated with physical site visits such as asbestos, fallen power lines and land slips.

Live relay monitors were used to communicate visuals back to two different viewing screens, allowing IAG's operators to keep a close eye over activity at all times.

The company also worked with the Country Fire Authority (CFA) to ensure the use of drones would not hamper fire fighting efforts.

“The impact caused by the Victorian bushfires was incredibly stressful for the home owners affected and using drone technology as part of our assessment process allowed us to make the experience safer, simpler and faster for our customers,” said IAG COO Andy Cornish.

According to Cornish, IAG is the first insurer in Australia to use drones to assess damage following a major bushfire.

“We are already working with our property repair partner to develop how we can use this technology to help more customers in the future.”

"The drones were able to capture a bird's eye view of property damage before physical access was granted by authorities," a spokesperson for the insurer said.

According to the spokesperson, the feedback to date about the drones has been "incredibly positive."

"It has been rewarding to see that using the drones has made a noticeable difference to the assessment process for our customers affected by the recent Victorian bushfires."

The spokesperson added that it worked with a trusted and experienced partner to ensure that it only captured images of customer properties.

"Customers were offered the opportunity to have their property assessed via drone technology and gave full consent to assess this way. We value the privacy of all customer information, and have a strict group privacy policy in place to ensure personal information collected is kept safe and secure."

IAG used two drones for the exercise: The DJI Inspire 1 which contains a Pro 4K camera with twin remote control and the Phantom 3 Professional.

The firm is now considering the use of drones in its property repair business.

"We have seen first-hand the benefit of using drones to assess bushfire claims and the huge potential this technology has for other areas of our business, such as storms, floods and other natural perils. We are already working with our repair partner to identify opportunities to help more customers and communities in the future," the spokesperson said.

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