Insurance Australia Group Ltd. (IAG) has deployed unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to assess damage from bushfires in the Great Ocean Road area – the first drone flights of their kind in Australia, according to IAG.
Claims for CGU Insurance, WFI and Coles Insurance were fast-tracked by the use of the drones, coordinated through IAG’s property repair partner. The flights enabled IAG to inspect properties before physical access was granted by authorities and start processing customer claims immediately, says the insurer.
The aerial imagery also allowed both assessors and customers to review damage from a safe location – thus, removing risks associated with physical site visits: e.g., asbestos, fallen power lines and land slips.
“The impact caused by the Victorian bushfires was incredibly stressful for the homeowners affected, and using drone technology as part of our assessment process allowed us to make the experience safer, simpler and faster for our customers,” explains Andy Cornish, chief operating officer of IAG.
“We are proud to be the first insurer in Australia to use drones to assess damage following a major bushfire and have received extremely positive feedback from our customers who benefited from this technology. We are already working with our property repair partner to develop how we can use this technology to help more customers in the future,” Cornish says.
IAG says it worked with the Country Fire Authority throughout the process to ensure the UAVs would not affect fire-fighting efforts.