Property/casualty insurer Travelers is now providing its insurance agents and brokers with before-and-after photos of areas affected by disasters.
The Travelers Catastrophe Map Viewer provides access to searchable, high-resolution aerial images that are often available within one or two days after a catastrophic event — normally before anyone can physically access the location. This capability enables agents and brokers to quickly notify customers about the condition of their properties and begin the claim process when necessary, the company said.
“Waiting to see if your property is safe following an emergency evacuation is stressful,” said Patrick Gee, senior vice president of Personal Insurance Claim at Travelers, adding that with this new tool, agents and brokers can quickly see which locations were damaged by a catastrophe and begin the recovery process.
The viewer uses photos provided by the National Insurance Crime Bureau’s Geospatial Intelligence Center, which sends aircraft equipped with aerial camera systems over certain disaster areas to capture images and assess damage. The GIC is a consortium of insurers that includes Travelers and about 10 other insurance companies.
The insurer said the tool will be most useful in events such as hurricanes, tornadoes and wildfires, where damages are evident from above.
Agents and brokers can access the Travelers Catastrophe Map Viewer by logging into the Agents section of Travelers.com.
Earlier this year, Munich Re began offering an analytics tool to carriers that can quickly assess property damage and can be used in conjunction with the aerial images taken by the GIC.
Roman Buegler, head of Munich Re’s innovation lab, said a pilot program that launched in 2016 showed 30% of all claims after a natural disaster can be settled after a simple desk audit using the remote sensing tool. He said Munich Re tested the system using GIC aerial photography during the 2018 hurricane season, which brought ashore the Category 5 Hurricane Michael in Mexico Beach, Florida.
Ryan Bank, managing director of the GIC, said the system proved its potential to speed up claims payments after Hurricane Michael. “In more than 40 percent of all property claims, its damage assessment was delivered before the insurer received the first notice of loss from the policyholder,” Bank said.
In addition to Travelers and Munich Re, members of the GIC include Allstate, USAA, MetLife, The Hartford and Citizens Property Insurance Corp.
Recently two property insurance analytics firms — CoreLogic and Betterview— announced they have incorporated GIC imagery into their product platforms.
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