Andrew Morse, Morse Building Consultancy, recently discussed drones and other technology with Chris Sheedy. Below is the article which appeared in the ANZIIF Journal – Australian and New Zealand Institute of Insurance and Finance.
Drones and other advanced camera technologies have become an everyday part of the post-disaster insurance process, says Andrew Morse, Director and Principal Building Consultant of Morse Building Consultancy.
Our work centres on events that include storms, hail, cyclones, floods and fires. We meet clients on behalf of insurance companies after damage has occurred. It could be minor, where dad has driven into the garage and taken out a column, to the after-effects of a massive storm where a roof is missing, or a fire in which lives have been lost.
On one job in north Queensland, on a 40,000-acre property, the owner flew out to meet me in his helicopter. He was amazed by the drone technology and the visibility it gave him.
In the main dwelling a very large tree, a Norfolk Pine, had sliced through the roof. I flew the drone to get a very clear image of the full extent of the damage, taking video and still photos, then panned the camera around so the insurance team could get the lay of the land. It all took 10 minutes.
It’s important that insurance teams see the environment in which the insured property sits. In western Queensland, where I have seen extensive damage to houses and farming sheds due to localised storms, there is a lot of open space and the wind can tear in and rip off part of the building. That’s because there is no shielding. In suburbia, there are houses either side and that shields you. When you get out into the vast, open areas the force of the wind is uninterrupted.
The video we take from above gives underwriters a better understanding of what they are covering. It also means they can develop ideas as to how they might mitigate risk.
The next technology we’re looking at is thermal imaging for moisture readings. We can walk into a house that has suffered water damage and point the thermal imaging camera at the wall to see the full extent of the damage. Some of the more advanced cameras will even expose faults in electrical wiring.
What is important for us in all the technology we use is training and accreditation. We need accreditation because we must give evidence in court. A barrister will always ask about the training we have had with a device. If all I can say is that I read the manual, then I’m not considered an expert. But if I have every level of accreditation available for a piece of technology, I am deemed an expert. That is what our clients expect.
To find out more about drone technology in building insurance assessments contact the Morse Building Consultancy team.