Drones and data set to revolutionise the UK agricultural insurance market

Drones and data set to revolutionise the UK agricultural insurance market

Iprosurv, the UK’s leading aerial survey, inspection and mapping provider, has entered into partnership with US-based agricultural surveying specialists, Sentera, in a move that will change the way agricultural risks are managed and insured in the UK.

The deal sees the full Sentera suite of sensors, software and analytics made available to Iprosurv’s existing fleet of over 400 drones. The new capability, a UK first, will enable Iprosurv to bring a new level of analytical detail to crop management and provide growers with the insight necessary to react before a crop is lost.

Using colour and multi-spectral imagery to create a field ‘heat map’, the new tech gives growers and their insurers a level of data and insight that has not been available previously.

The sensors provided by Sentera determine the health of a crop by analysing the light reflected by the crop leaves, down to individual plants. This allows the software to map out the health profile of a crop, enabling growers and insurers to take immediate and targeted remedial action.

This allows insurers to underwrite at a much more granular level which should lead to more accurate premium pricing and claims pay-outs for growers.

Rebecca Jones, CEO and co-founder of Iprosurv, predicted that the new capabilities would fundamentally change the way agricultural risks in the UK are managed and how insurers understand and price them.

Rebecca Jones, CEO and co-founder of Iprosurv, predicted that the new capabilities would fundamentally change the way agricultural risks in the UK are managed and how insurers understand and price them.

“The traditional approach to surveying crops requires boots on the ground, visual inspection and often lengthy analysis of individual plants. This is time consuming and, more importantly, can often be inaccurate but this partnership with Sentera means our drones can provide growers and their insurers with a detailed analysis of a crop’s condition, and it’s likelihood of failure, within hours,” she said.

“With Sentera’s tech on board, our drones can provide minutely specific data on a crop’s condition, predicting the yield and extent of any damage. Farming is becoming more and more automated and specialised and this technology is a significant addition to the modernisation of farming in the UK.”

In a recent Proof of Concept flight, an Iprosurv drone fitted with Sentera’s tech was able to help a farmer’s insurer establish that liability for their crop failure lay with a neighbouring farmer, avoiding a potential £1.5m claim on their record in the process.

Commenting on the partnership and the implications for the UK agricultural sector, co-founder and Director of New Strategic Ventures at Sentera, Greg Emerick, said:

Commenting on the partnership and the implications for the UK agricultural sector, co-founder and Director of New Strategic Ventures at Sentera, Greg Emerick, said:

“We’re excited to be working with Iprosurv to deliver the precision and efficiency of Sentera’s technology to agriculture professionals. Sentera’s solutions provide insights to growers, agronomists and retailers driving economic value up across the agriculture sector by reducing costs and improving production. 

“This same data is also being used to drive efficiencies for crop insurance claims adjusting and policy writing.”

The partnership is now live and the technology available to Iprosurv’s fleet of over 400 drones covering the UK. The capability will also be made available, via Iprosurv, to other drone operators on a commercial basis.

Contact For further information, contact martin.friel@iprosurv.com

About Iprosurv

Established in 2014, Iprosurv provides companies with the in-house capability of drone and data/media delivery services. Our CAMERA system and optimum drone operator platform provides bespoke services be that an on-demand, fully managed service to independent data/media delivery services.

Iprosurv is a pioneer in the provision of drone technology across a range of industries. Its current network of pilots, covering the entirety of the UK, use a proprietary system to record, store and deliver drone data to clients in a fast and secure way. From building surveys to flood response to assisting emergency services, Iprosurv continues to push the boundaries of how drones can be used in business.

Posted in Drone Tech, General Interest, Information, Iprosurv News

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Eye in the sky: Iprosurv drones surveying buildings

Rebecca Jones and her partner realised the commercial potential of drones, but, as she tells Martin Friel, it needed a leap of faith before their high-flying business could take off.

Drones, those little machines we see buzzing above parks and fields across the UK, have something of an unsavoury reputation. Whether it’s as dealers of remote death in the Afghan and Iraqi wars or causing huge disruption at Gatwick airport, people, understandably, are nervous about them and what they might be doing up there.  

But love them or loathe them, drones are increasing in popularity across the country with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) estimating there are around 130,000 registered drone operators in the UK, of which, nearly 6,000 are commercial.

The full story can be found here https://www.independent.co.uk

Posted in Drone Tech, General Interest, Iprosurv News

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CAA grants extended line of sight permissions to Iprosurv

Iprosurv has secured Extended Visual Line of Sight permissions from the Civil Aviation Authority for its network of remote pilots.

Standard aviation regulations insist that drones remain within the pilot’s sight at all times during flight which has historically limited flight distances to around 500m but Iprosurv’s new permissions allow its remote pilots to fly drones up to 2km from the launch site, with no direct line of sight required by the remote pilot.

The special permissions issued by the CAA have so far been granted to less than 1% of the nation’s commercial drone operators.Story continues belowAdvertisement

Commenting on the move, Iprosurv co-founder and CEO, Rebecca Jones, said: “We are delighted that the CAA has once again recognised the high level of training, safety and monitoring that takes place across our network of remote pilots and has seen fit to provide us with these new permissions.

“What may seem like a technicality is actually a huge leap forward in the capabilities of drones, particularly in the early assessment of disaster areas, assisting the emergency services and in the survey of inaccessible buildings.”

Adding: “These exemptions will allow us to stream footage and data direct to the client’s desktop even before a site has been physically visited.”

Currently, when faced with a large survey area, pilots often have to stop a flight once the limits of line of site have been reached, drive to the next launch site and start the process again.

Iprosurv says its new level of functionality will allow insurers, property managers and the emergency services to view the entire area and assess and triage the situation in real time.

Jones continued: “Drones have always had the potential to completely change the way we respond to disasters or large-scale surveys but having the ability to remain in the air for longer, going further distances and relaying real time data back to the client is a huge step forward.

“In granting these permissions, the CAA has shown a welcome willingness to help unlock the commercial and societal benefits of drones and we look forward to introducing our new capabilities to all of our clients.”

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Iprosurv integrate Altitude Angel into proprietary Case Management System

London, UK:  Altitude Angel, the world’s leading UTM (Unmanned Traffic Management) technology provider, today announced survey and inspection provider, Iprosurv, has opted to embed Altitude Angel’s market leading data in its flight mapping solutions.

UKs largest drone supplier

Established in 2014, Iprosurv are regarded as a pivotal company in the promotion and implementation of many of the drone applications which we see across various markets and industries today. With a drone pilot contractor network comprising of field experts from across the UK, Iprosurv are able to provide clients from all industries with valuable visual and data insights.

Iprosurv will be embedding Altitude Angel’s pioneering Airspace Map, DroneSafetyMap, within its internal pilot portal to provide Iprosurv’s network of UAV operators with a ‘one-stop-shop’ platform for assessing the risk associated with each operation prior to arriving on site. A detailed area report and hazard score will also be generated through Altitude Angel’s innovative Area Report API, providing further safety information crucial for ensuring safety and mitigating risk.

Proprietary CMS

The platform will also assist the drone operators in submitting flight reports and will enhance visibility of drone operations through Altitude Angel’s GuardianUTM, as Iprosurv expands its operations across the UK and internationally.

On partnering with Iprosurv, Richard Ellis, Altitude Angel, Chief Business Officer, said: “The team at Iprosurv share the same entrepreneurial vision and values as Altitude Angel. We want our customers to be as well informed as possible and by integrating Altitude Angel data into its platform, we know Iprosurv will be getting the best possible data in the air and on the ground.”

Rebecca Jones, Iprosurv, founder and Chief Executive Officer, added: “We are delighted to have entered into this partnership with Altitude Angel.

National supplier

“As a national provider of drone services, Iprosurv needs to play its part in promoting the safe operation of drones by working with regulators and industry professionals. As part of that, we were looking for a partner who could provide accurate real time data to enhance our proposition in a way which not only complies with current regulations but helps shape future ones, and Altitude Angel ticked all the boxes.

Leading the pack

“As Iprosurv pushes ahead with its international ambitions, with Altitude Angel we will be able to do so in a way that is informed, safe and completely transparent with all the relevant regulators. We have always tried to push the boundaries of what commercial drones can do and this partnership is another step forward for Iprosurv and the wider commercial drone community.”

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A lift from drones to stand out from the crowd

The world of insurance broking can be cut-throat where every client win and reduction in premium counts, says Aston Lark’s head of claims and risk management, Richard Graham. But by embracing tech and, in particular, drones, he is confident that Aston Lark can steal a march on competitors.

Standing out from the crowd

Standing out from the crowd as a broker can be tough, despite what anyone might think. There are a finite number of businesses out there to be insured and every single one of them are looking for the best terms while keeping costs down wherever they can. And they will go with the broker most likely to provide both.

As we progress through a hardening market, the challenge for the broker becomes even more acute which is why at Aston Lark, we are always looking for ways to differentiate ourselves with clients and insurers alike.

Our fundamental approach is to ensure that each and every one of our clients receives an Aston Lark level of service, regardless of who they are insured with. That means taking more responsibility for the services provided – as well as come up with our own innovative solutions. We want to take all the good stuff that insurers and loss adjusters do and do it ourselves but with a level of consistency that cannot be delivered by anyone but Aston Lark.

One of the most exciting and innovative ways in which we are doing that is in our use of drones. They have gained a strong foothold in the claims arena in recent years as they have shown just what they are capable of during surge storm events and in large, complex losses.

Drones in risk management

But the industry has been slow to explore their use in risk management and that is exactly where Aston Lark is headed. We have a large property book and these clients often struggle to provide the information on their properties that insurers would like to have.

For example, one of our clients is a large printing firm with huge premises, some of which were built 200 years ago. They were struggling to provide certain information to insurers as there was a good deal of uncertainty over the integrity of the roof as they simply hadn’t been able to access it properly for a number of years.

We suggested that we send up a drone to take a look and the 3D interactive model that was produced from the raw data allowed them to identify trouble spots and put in place a plan to fix them. This in turn also enabled them to satisfy the insurers requirements.

“It’s not just the clients who benefit – that value extends to insurers too”

This is one example, but we are convinced many of our clients would benefit hugely from the same service which is why we are about to launch a drone-powered risk management service to our client base.

It is not just the clients who benefit – that value extends to insurers too. Underwriters are constantly seeking more and more information about a risk and that appetite is only increasing in a hard market. Insurers can afford to be choosy and that choosiness is only satisfied by hard data.

They are always on the lookout for anything that can reduce their indemnity spend post loss so the pre-loss data that the 3D model provides them is hugely beneficial, not just for large risks, but smaller ones too.

Desktop valuations

For desktop building valuations, we use the drone data to provide our clients with an reinstatement cost assessment that provides insurers with the confidence they need to forego the average clause that’s usually inserted into a buildings policy as they are given a view of a risk that is reasonably close to a traditional boots-on-the-ground survey.

To be able to remove that clause provides a huge amount of comfort for clients where underinsurance is still a huge concern.

As I say, we are still in the early stages of appreciating the full application of drones in insurance, but the prospects are exciting to say the least.

Drone data and the way it is presented helps our clients manage the maintenance of their assets in a more sustainable way, allows insurers to offer better terms based on more granular detail and both of these things give Aston Lark a distinct advantage as we head into a hard market.

How long that advantage lasts will depend upon the speed at which other brokers pick up on this but in the meantime, Aston Lark will continue to seek out new tools and new approaches to ensure our clients are getting the terms and service they need.

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The only perspective is the customer perspective

One of the industry’s most enthusiastic early adopters of drone technology, Zurich Insurance saw that drones can get places humans can’t and get there quicker too.

So, when Zurich’s UK Chief Claims Officer, David Nichols had a personal roof damage claim, he was keen to see if drones delivered what he thought they did.

And here he gives us some insight from a unique perspective – a claims director experiencing the claims service firsthand.

As a claims director, you want to be pretty confident that your teams are delivering a top notch service and that the customer experience is always excellent but there is no greater test of your service than being ‘fortunate’ enough to experience claims services yourself.  I have to say that everything was what I hoped it would be!

Anyway, the claim went smoothly but the bit I was particularly interested in experiencing was some new technology we have introduced to our claims service – drones.

We started using them because we thought it sounded like a great idea. Of course, the decision-making was more detailed than that but in essence, we have been looking for everything and anything that can speed up and smooth out the claims process for customers and drones seemed to be a simple, cost-effective way of doing that.

The obvious, immediate use is in claims where we can’t access the site such as in major floods or fires. Drones provide immediate access, but they also provide detailed imagery, measurements and a host of other data, putting our claims teams on the front foot.

It speeds up our processes and brings the customer closer to a clear decision, either way, in hours rather than weeks.

But there is an added benefit to using drones – customer engagement. The ability to share images of the damage with a customer and being able to explain next steps immediately provides reassurance and we are able to bring the customer into the claims conversation in a way we haven’t been able to before. Images provide the immediate truth of a situation. 

More than that, this approach can also bring the customer’s knowledge of their business or property into play to help us allocate resources in the most effective way. For example, we had a factory fire earlier this year. By using the images captured by the drone, the client was able to indicate to us the location of their machinery, what parts of the operation were critical and what parts could wait. This allowed us to shape our response in a more informed and targeted way.

All of this makes using drones in claims a bit of a no-brainer for me. The clincher was when I experienced it for myself through a personal claim. My roof was damaged in the storms this year and obviously the extent of the damage had to be understood before the claim could go any further.

A drone was deployed within days of registering the claim. Within an hour of the drone being on site, I was shown imagery of the damage by the drone operator who then explained the next steps to me.

I did not have to wait for scaffolding to be set up or a cherry picker to be deployed. I was also brought into the conversation surrounding my claim at the earliest stage. It was fast, completely unobtrusive and I felt included in the process. Exactly the kind of experience I hoped drones would bring to our customers.

This is only scratching the surface though. Drones capture a huge amount of detailed data and I see no reason why this can’t be deployed more widely such as with the building estimation tools that we all use. Any process that can be automated to create a better customer experience has to be embraced.

And why stop at claims? There are obvious applications in a broad range of services, and we will continue to explore these. Imagine a process where we have the detailed drone data at policy inception stage and detailed drone data at the claim stage? Those data sets can ‘speak’ to each other, giving greater clarity, faster decision making and greater levels of transparency for all parties.

We can do that. The tools are there. As individual firms and as an industry, we just need to have the foresight and the confidence to use them to their full extent. What started as a “why not?” at Zurich is now a “where next?”.

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There’s no turning back now

The insurance industry had no choice but to keep operating during the lockdown – the financial regulator made it clear that it expected claims to be processed and settled as normal. How exactly the industry should do that, was less clear. Unsurprisingly, for many, tech was the answer and here, Lisa Bartlett, the UK and Ireland President of loss adjusting firm, Crawford & Co, gives us some insight into what that looked like and what role drones had to play in keeping the claims machine moving.

It is a well-established idea that the more we embrace technology, the more we fear it will make us humans redundant. But what has been a gentle jog towards digital over the past few years, suddenly turned into a sprint during the lockdown.

Those that could, turned digital virtually overnight, having been forced to find new ways to operate and maintain customer service. It has shown many of us just how powerful technology can be and has made us completely rethink how we will work when life returns to ‘normal’.

Does this mean the machines have won?

Not necessarily. There is no doubting that the greater use of tech in insurance and adjusting is here to stay. That’s a given. It’s nothing new anyway – we have been introducing more and more digital processes into our businesses for years but perhaps what the lockdown has forced us to do is to really explore its full capabilities.

Crawford has been able to conduct desktop claims handling for some time now but when the lockdown was introduced, we went remote and digital quickly, across the organisation and it worked. But it also evolved.

For some time now, we have been using an app that allows customers to upload photos of damage to our adjusters to help speed up the claims process. During the lockdown, with no site visits possible, we had to find a new way, so we shifted to video conferencing and while not the same as having a human on site, provided the necessary insight for our adjusters to get a claim moving.

To supplement that, we have been using drones to conduct site visits and again, while this is not new technology for us, the use of it has increased and been applied beyond the traditional uses of flood and major fire events.

The immediate operational use of tech is obvious, but it goes beyond the practical and this is what, despite any reservations, we need to keep exploring. Because it doesn’t just make life easier – if used properly and blended with our technical expertise, it will make us better at what we do.

Take the cameras that drones use, for example. These high definition cameras take a series of NADIR (straight down), oblique and horizontal images, which can then be processed through advanced software to create a 3D interactive ‘digital twin’ model of the site. This permanent record can then be shared with all parties, reducing or even removing the need for repeat visits, with the obvious time savings that provides.

But perhaps more importantly, the data and imaging can be used with clients too, showing them what was found, the damage done, what the likely causes of that damage were and what the remedy might be. It just makes the whole claims process much more transparent for the customer and, indeed, for everyone involved.

And this can only be a good thing. Whatever reservations people may have about technology, I just can’t see Crawford, or anyone else, rowing back and not embracing the advantages it provides. Where there is a clear operational and customer service benefit, it is incumbent upon all of us to use it.

That doesn’t mean that technology is the be all and end all, however. Its full potential can only really be realised when it is properly paired with the technical expertise of adjusters. Indeed, as smart as the tech may be, it still needs the insight and oversight that only an adjuster can provide – drones are flown by a human, the 3D images are interpreted by a human and the adjuster is still making the final call on a claim.

And I think that is biggest operational lesson we can learn from all of this – yes, we are all more digital now but no, that does not need to be to the detriment of humans. It is with an open mind and a determination to explore all the possibilities (while reminding ourselves of our own value), that we will make the real digital leap forward that so many have been predicting for so long.

Posted in Drone Tech, General Interest, Information, Iprosurv News

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Iprosurv British Insurance Awards Finalist

The adoption of drone technology across industry and wider society has been accelerating over recent years so much so, that even the most traditional of sectors are starting to embrace their use.

Insurance isn’t known for its willingness to embrace change and we at Iprosurv know that first-hand. We’ve spent the last six years persuading insurance companies and loss adjusters, one by one, of the benefits of drones. And while we’ve made some great progress, it hasn’t always been easy and often frustrating, but this month marked a bit of a milestone.

More and more companies are using our drone pilots to survey the damage caused to buildings by floods, fires and storms and they are also waking up to the benefits of using them to survey properties to assess their current condition and risk of damage.

Once these companies use drones, they get it instantly, albeit one by one. Drones provide them access to closed off or dangerous sites and the data they produce allows them to get working on paying claims in hours rather than weeks. Despite what most people think, insurers do want to pay claims – they just want to be sure of all the facts before they do and the data our drone pilots provide help them do that quickly.

And it seems that we are approaching a bit of a tipping point in this industry. This month Iprosurv was shortlisted for Claims Initiative of the Year at the British Insurance Awards, the first time the use of drones has been recognised at an industry award.

Don’t laugh but the British Insurance Awards are often called the Oscars of insurance so it’s a really big deal for that industry to recognise the contribution of drone technology in this way.

Of course, we’re really excited at the prospect of winning but what is really satisfying is that it feels like we (and our drone pilots) are becoming an accepted part of the industry. And that’s not just important for us as a business.

It’s important for the industry as a whole because drones can reduce the decision-making time on a claim from days to hours. Delays to claims are one of the main complaints made by customers so anything that the industry can do to improve that has to embraced wholesale across the industry.

We are by no means there yet, but for an industry that is quite innovation-phobic to recognise the contribution and importance of drones to the way they operate, feels like a really important step forward.

Posted in General Interest, Iprosurv News

Drones could form key part of next generation of UK search and rescue

From accidents off the rugged cliffs of the Atlantic coast to casualties in the high waves of the North Sea, drones could be used in the future to help save lives across the UK

A new project will investigate if drones could also boost missions by visiting rescue sites ahead of air, sea or land based recovery teams; by providing a full picture of the situation and helping to develop the appropriate response.

Announced Wednesday 5 February by the Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA), the project will explore how current regulation can be developed to unlock the potential for drones to help those in distress on the UK’s coastline, making rescues safer and more efficient.

Maritime Minister Nusrat Ghani said: “Drone technology has enormous potential for our search and rescue teams, who save lives 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

“This ground-breaking project will not only hope to boost the capabilities of our already fantastic teams but will also boost our ability to spot pollution hazards and protect our precious marine environment.”

Last year alone, the MCA’s civilian search and rescue helicopters responded to seven missions a day on average, saving more than 1,600 people. In total, the MCA coordinated over 22,000 incidents and rescued over 7,000 people.

Phil Hanson, aviation technical assurance manager at the Maritime & Coastguard Agency, said: “I am extremely proud and excited that the MCA has taken the brave step to take the lead in the development and implementation of beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) drones in UK airspace.

“The use of drones in search and rescue, counter pollution and maritime aerial observation operations will potentially increase overall efficiency and also reduce the risk to our personnel – allowing the MCA to discharge its international obligations effectively.”

Source: Maritime and Coastguard Agency

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https://iprosurv.com/2020/10/15/drones-and-data-set-to-revolutionise-the-uk-agricultural-insurance-market/Drones and data set to revolutionise the UK agricultural insurance market

https://iprosurv.com/2020/09/11/eye-in-the-sky-how-iprosurv-is-using-drones-to-survey-buildings/Eye in the sky: Iprosurv drones surveying buildings

https://iprosurv.com/2020/09/03/caa-grants-extended-line-of-sight-permissions-to-iprosurv/CAA grants extended line of sight permissions to Iprosurv

https://iprosurv.com/2020/08/20/iprosurv-select-altitude-angel-as-global-map-data-provider/Iprosurv integrate Altitude Angel into proprietary Case Management System

https://iprosurv.com/2020/08/10/taking-a-lift-from-drones-to-stand-out-from-the-crowd/A lift from drones to stand out from the crowd

https://iprosurv.com/2020/06/22/the-only-perspective-is-the-customer-perspective/The only perspective is the customer perspective

https://iprosurv.com/2020/06/05/theres-no-turning-back-now/There’s no turning back now

https://iprosurv.com/2020/05/18/iprosurv-british-insurance-awards-finalist/Iprosurv British Insurance Awards Finalist

https://iprosurv.com/2020/02/05/drones-could-form-key-part-of-next-generation-of-uk-search-and-rescue/Drones could form key part of next generation of UK search and rescue