Written by Steyn McDowall, Indwe Executive Director: Business & Specialist Insurance
In the same way that progressive farmers need innovative tools to face modern farming challenges, so too must agri insurers use new technology to increase their efficiency and stay competitive.
If you consider the agri industry and look specifically at crop insurance, the insurance and claims process faces numerous challenges. It’s time-consuming and costly, data for product structuring and pricing is absent, underwriting is selective, there is no monitoring (pre or post), and manual claim processing is inaccurate, slow and fraudulent.
RiskTech, which provides drone solutions and a cloud-based risk and insurance platform, called Lyme Risk Management, has helped overcome some of these difficulties. As technology paves the way for more practical and cost-effective processes in the agri insurance sector, the impact of RiskTech’s services is vast.
- Premium accuracy and risk mitigation: By taking a bird’s-eye view to assess a site, you not only receive a more accurate risk profile but this also impacts the costs.
- Natural disaster monitoring: When fires, floods, drought and earthquakes occur, these areas are unsafe and difficult to reach, however, drones can be deployed both safely and quickly to monitor threatened areas.
- Site inspection: Where a site inspection must take place to assess and measure damages, using a drone is faster and more cost-effective, while also ensuring the safety of any inspection team.
- Claims decisions: The availability of detailed, high-quality imagery makes the decision-making process easier.
- Prevention of fraud: Using drones to capture accurate, real-time data helps counter fraudulent claims.
The availability of RiskTech to the agri insurance sector will affect four important areas: risk management, claims management; post loss management, and direct and indirect employment.
Drones can identify and evaluate risks faster and more safely, helping to make risk management more proactive and predictive. The additional benefit to using drones for aerial surveys is that field workers face less exposure to toxins and dangerous surface areas, and they won’t have to work in challenging conditions, thereby reducing work-related injuries and fatalities.
The claims management process will be significantly improved for all stakeholders. While the claims adjuster can process more claims by having faster access to reliable information, the client will feel confident that their claim will be addressed quickly, and finally the insurance company will benefit from savings due to a more efficient workflow.
Post loss management
Drones assist insurers to save money after a disaster. When drones are used to capture images, fewer adjusters are then required to inspect damage at the disaster site. Insurance companies are able to reap substantial savings on travel costs, as adjusters remain in the office to review the loss data and process claims. Further time saving is achieved, for example, in the event a flood occurs, which cause extensive destruction across many square kilometres. Insurers can use drones to survey the area and get a quick view of the damage. Adjusting activities can then be planned, based on the data collected.
Direct and indirect employment
If there is a concern that a more efficient workflow process could result in job losses in the sector, the counter argument is that roles that are more specialist will need to be created. Not only will there be a need to manufacture drones, but they will need to be maintained and piloted. In addition, data collected will need to be processed, stored and analysed by skilled risk managers.
RiskTech is at the forefront of the survey space, where it provides solutions that close the gap between AI technology and the needs of the end user. Through the Lyme Risk Management platform, data identification and evaluation, and the management of risk information are simplified. This results in improved asset mapping, site monitoring, data transfer and visual result interpretation.
RiskTech’s services streamline the insurance and risk process, and provide benefits and key insights to farmers and agri insurers in this sector. For example, after drones collect crucial aerial imagery, RiskTech then simplifies the process so anyone unfamiliar with how drones operate, including risk surveyors and loss adjusters, can understand the assessment data. Flight parameters are uploaded to the drone in advance, while upfront planning leads to time saving. Drones are also effectively used, for example, to apply localised fertilisers which impact the crop yield directly.
All data is uploaded to the Lyme Risk Management platform, where photographs are stitched together. This enables the viewer to access the full picture of the area being surveyed. Insurers can then study the area in detail, deciding on the extent of the damage or any potential liability, for example with the spread of a fire. With this ability you can ultimately reduce risk, improve claim processing, reduce survey costs, improve pricing and decrease loss payouts through improved data accuracy.