Insurers Using Aerial Imagery to Assess Hurricane Ian Damage
More than a week after Hurricane Ian made landfall in Southwest Florida as a Category 4 hurricane, many areas remain in accessible by land due to the storm surge, said David Bairstow, senior vice president and general manager, insurance, at EagleView, a provider of geospatial software, aerial imagery and analytics.
As soon as weather conditions allowed following the hurricane, EagleView had planes in the air to capture high-resolution aerial imagery of the storm’s damage using the company’s proprietary equipment, he said.
“A decade ago, an adjuster used a ladder, wore a harness, and used a tape measure to measure a roof,” Bairstow said. “We already have aerial pictures of any roof in the U.S. or Canada. We can provide precise imagery and measurements that are safer and more accurate.”
Aerial imagery taken in the aftermath of the storm helps carriers and local governments triage the damage, helping them place resources where they are most needed.
Hurricane Ian is estimated to have caused insured losses of up to $57 billion (according to Verisk Extreme Event Solutions) to $63 billion (according to Karen Clark & Co).
In Florida, EagleView has already provided tens of thousands of property measurements to insurance carriers, Bairstow said.
The company can provide details like what is the pitch and height of the roof, which can help carriers assess claims faster, Bairstow said. EagleView also uses drones and machine learning to provide remote property assessments.
Hurricane Ian will be a challenging storm for insurers due to the tremendous amount of coastal flooding and the unique nature of the Florida market with respect to a likely high proportion of litigated claims, Karen Clark & Co. said. KCC experts model wind, storm surge, and inland flooding separately and then estimate the proportion of each peril that will be covered by the private market. It is assumed that some flood damage will be paid by insurers even if not explicitly covered.