It is projected that, by the year 2020, there will be 7 million drones in the U.S. alone. Most consumers buy drones for recreational use, but businesses have begun to use drones, as well. Drones are used by photographers to obtain better camera angles, by farmers for crop surveillance and by media outlets for coverage of newsworthy events. Amazon has even launched Amazon Prime Air, which uses drones to get shipments to customers in 30 minutes or less.
A similarly important shift is the rise of the gig economy, in which 55 million Americans offer their services and assets — homes, cars, labor — to earn supplemental or full-time income. Recently, these two phenomena have intersected. Drone use, in combination with the gig economy, will significantly improve various aspects of the insurance supply chain.
See also: Gig Economy: Newest Tool for Insurance
Insurance and Drones
Drones can help the insurance industry by improving data quality, providing unprecedented views, ensuring safety and increasing the speed at which claims can be resolved. These new realities are incredibly important for the insurance sector.
By flying drones over damaged houses or other properties, operators can acquire high-quality video footage that accelerates and improves claims resolution processes. Drone footage can immediately be sent back to carriers for analysis.
Drones can significantly reduce the risks associated with field inspections. By leveraging drones, insurance adjusters can avoid climbing ladders and even setting foot in damaged buildings. Operators can remain safely on the ground and fly their drones over damaged property or disaster areas.
Insurance and the Gig Economy
Insurance carriers are already able to tap into the power of gig economy platforms to complete any number of tasks. At WeGoLook, for instance, we connect a network of 30,000 gig workers with insurance carriers across North America. At the swipe of a smartphone, a Looker can be dispatched to conduct a damage assessment, asset verification, scene inspection, document retrieval or any number of other tasks or processes. The gig economy not only offers insurers the ability to fulfill these needs affordably and at scale, but it can also help to accommodate workload surges brought on when natural disasters strike.
Bringing It All Together
Gig economy platforms are now beginning to offer drone services. These services combine the power of drone technology with the convenience and accessibility of gig solutions, making drones more accessible than ever for insurers.
Gig workers who own drones can be dispatched by insurers to conduct a variety of tasks. An insurer could hire its own drone workforce, but this would be time-consuming and expensive. Gig platforms allow insurers to completely outsource drone operation and training that would otherwise require significant upfront investment. Further, insurers don’t need to worry about how to train operators, conduct maintenance or insure against unintended damages.
The gig economy’s on-demand model can be tapped at any moment. This efficiency, combined with the use of drones, is vastly improving the time to process insurance claims.
WeGoLook’s COO, Kenneth Knoll, provides an example of this type of efficiency: “We recently received an assignment that involved capturing aerial imagery of a commercial location where an injury occurred and details were needed as part of the case. As opposed to photos from the ground, the aerial imagery was much more effective to illustrate the exact conditions of the scene in question. Plus, our drone footage was delivered to the carrier within 24 hours, thanks to the efficiency of our on-demand workforce.”
Given all the benefits of drone technology and the increasing availability of drone services via gig economy platforms, there’s a good chance that a drone will be involved in your next insurance claim. Insurance professionals and customers can look forward to better data, faster resolution times and safer inspections.
See also: What Gig Economy Means for Insurers
Roughly 34% of the U.S. workforce currently participates in the gig economy in some way. When you combine these numbers with 7 million drones that will be owned by Americans by 2020, this creates the potential for a vast network of drone pilots working in a freelance capacity.
These freelance drone pilots can be helpful for insurance companies, insurance policyholders and gig economy companies that crowdsource and connect them with jobs. There’s no doubt that drones, in combination with the gig economy, will bring significant benefits for the insurance industry.