As more property insurers turn to AI and drones, flaws emerge

The new tech has forced some insurers to reopen claims after low initial repair estimates

August 06, 2018 04:30 PM

Hurricane damage in Florida (Credit: Wikimedia Commons, Pexels)

As South Florida braces for hurricane season and as wildfires devastate California, property insurers are increasingly using aerial technology and artificial intelligence to process claims.

But some in the industry are having trouble utilizing the new tech and some property insurers are reopening claims because their initial repair estimates were too low, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Everest Re Group, a reinsurance company, said it increased its estimated 2017 net catastrophe losses by $400 million, in part because so many customers had to reopen claims in Florida and Puerto Rico. The new technology was in part to blame.

But the high tech devices also slightly reduced the time for policyholders to receive payments for residential property damage. The time it now takes has dropped to 16.5 days from 17.4 days, according to a J.D. Power survey.

Allstate reported it settled 16,500 claims with flights, drones and aerial imagery in the first half of this year, up from 12,600 in 2017, the Journal reported.

Thousands of homeowners filed insurance claims last year after Hurricane Irma struck in September.

The hurricane missed most of South Florida, except for some of the Florida Keys, where many homes are still feeling the effects. In Big Pine Key, housing inventory rose 11 percent from January 2017 to January 2018, according to Keys Weekly, and average sale prices have declined on a year-over-year basis.

In California, the Carr Fire has scorched more than 160,000 acres and destroyed more than 1,600 homes. [WSJ]  — Keith Larsen

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