Insurance is facing stiff competition in all fronts. Could a bird’s-eye view provide a competitive advantage?

Underwriters have always wanted the most complete picture possible to help them evaluate risk, but until recently they have not considered using new technologies to gain a view from above. New vendors—including OmniEarth, Planet Labs and Terra Bella—offer just such a view by combining the power of machine learning technologies, geospatial information, and satellite and drone imaging.

While underwriters can easily pull up Google Earth satellite images, vendors such as these offer additional value, providing the technologies and analysis to help underwriters understand what they are seeing—giving them not just a bird’s-eye view, but intelligence and insights.

With these capabilities, underwriters can:

  • Identify hidden exposures such as satellite panels or trampolines.
  • Identify potential easements from public paths.
  • Assess roof age or damage.
  • Identify extra structures on the premises.

The key here, as with any of the emerging analytics, artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies, is in knowing how to evaluate not just the technologies themselves, but also the data. And, more importantly, how to integrate them into the company’s underwriting processes for maximum value.

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