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Why aerial imagery for insurance?


Feb 2021

Learn how up-to-date aerial images from Nearmap streamline every stage of the insurance policy lifecycle, including claim validation and policy renewal.

Feb 2021

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From claim validation to policy renewal, up-to-date aerial maps from Nearmap can help you to streamline every stage of the Insurance policy lifecycle. We chatted with Eric Eckert, Director, Insurance Practice at Nearmap to hear the benefits of premium, high-res aerial imagery for insurers.

What kinds of data and insights can insurers gain from aerial imagery?

The core thing that all carriers are looking for is to make a decision. A decision has to be made based on your best efforts to understand the truth and in the case for Nearmap, the truth on the ground.
Nearmap can show insurers what is happening with a property now, and what has historically happened, tracking change in near real-time. From imagery to location intelligence to post-event data following a catastrophe, Nearmap covers the full spectrum of data that insurers need. This data has relevance across every stage of the policy lifecycle.

Who in the insurance field do these insights affect most?

Well, insights from our data help those in quoting, underwriting, claims management, post-catastrophe management, risk modeling and pricing. Essentially, the data Nearmap offers has application across the whole lifecycle.
Those focused on repair and rebuild can leverage our data, even down to a recent customer in marketing, who was attempting to determine the correct audience for marketing a policy. We have the current property intelligence all insurers need. If an insurer doesn't want to underwrite a property with a trampoline, swimming pool or solar panel, we can show them properties that meet that risk profile with our AI image data layers, saving a lot of time on physical inspections.

Why use Nearmap paid premium imagery over free satellite imagery?

I refer back to the truth on the ground. There is a difference between the truth offered by these two imagery types. Think of the imagery marketplace as an inverted wedding cake, the top is satellite imagery, where yes - coverage is pretty broad and you may be able to see your property with no problem, but with traditional satellite providers the quality levels are lower and images are blurry.
The fine details are critical, especially for an insurer so they can do things like measure roof pitch and area. Go further down in this inverted cake and you’ll find the sweet spot in the aerial imagery space. Where satellite offers imagery at a 20-50cm resolution, allowing me to see a house, Nearmap 5.5-7.5cm resolution allows me to count the number of tiles on the roof of that house.
If you’re trying to understand the condition of the property, aerial imagery lends us a fine grain over our friends in the satellite space.

How are we different than drones?

The drones are at the bottom of the cake. Drone resolution is even more fine grain than aerial imagery, but the big difference between us and drones is coverage. Coverage for a drone is wherever they fly it. The resolution will be amazing, however you won’t find great coverage. The pilot will capture wherever paid to do so as a drone is hired for a single point-in-time analysis.
At Nearmap, we update our imagery frequently, capturing major areas across North America up to 3 times per year, Australia up to 6 times per year, and multiple times across New Zealand, too.

Why is it important to find an enterprise-grade solution for imagery?

An enterprise-grade solution provides the reliable partnership insurers require. From scaling to their needs to providing the always-on, always-functional access to the most important property insights.
One thing that comes up with clients is coverage, but not just coverage, the timeliness of the coverage. We’ve been collecting data in the US since 2014 so you could go to a major city where we collect 2-3 times a year and see up to 18 captures of a property. Also, finding change over time involved with any particular property.
Other providers won’t give you that rich library of imagery and the ability to understand change over time as it lacks frequency. You may find something less than a year old, but it’s not guaranteed. Our customers are in the quest to find the truth on the ground. They find that with Nearmap.

Is there anything we didn’t cover that you think Insurers need to know about Nearmap?

We’re more than just imagery. We’re equally as good at providing property intelligence through artificial intelligence (AI) driven data. When considering data-driven models and the accuracy of property intelligence, it’s always driven by the timeliness and precision of the underlying data. You can’t feed these machine learnings to produce optimal results without the most accurate data.
This accuracy relies on both the volume of data and the quality of it, too. We control our pipeline, from capture to publish, and our data is consistently high-quality and high-resolution, captured over many geographies across various points in time. The frequency and quality are ideal for driving machine learning.
You find with insurance that customers have a high appreciation for the imagery, but when it comes to automated processes, it’s the additional intelligence that drives decisions. It’s Nearmap imagery and accuracy, but also how this accurate data is used to derive true property insights and capture on-the-ground property intelligence. One insurer might be looking for a solution based on imagery needs but another may need one based on the property insights and AI variables they can gather, we bring the best of both to the party.
Learn more about Nearmap for Insurance.
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