The insurance industry is seen by many as being uncool, even boring. This is more than just an image problem, because failure to attract a millennial workforce means that by the end of this decade, there are expected to be around 400,000 unfilled positions within the industry. One of the world’s oldest industries is slow to modernize, but drones could change all that.
The average age of an insurance agent in the United States is 59. Insurance companies are so desperate to attract younger workers that many have started using startup culture gimmicks like climbing walls in offices and offering free beer.
Almost all insurers admit they face obstacles to digital innovation and are slow to change. But the introduction of drones into the industry could appeal to a younger workforce, while making things much more efficient for people making claims.
Drones allow insurance claims adjusters to process claims that used to take almost two weeks in under 24 hours. On-demand video streaming services can be delivered to record damage in real time, and drones allow direct communication with insurance providers to give instant photo and video evidence of damages.
TechDigg spoke to Louis Ziskin, CEO of DropIn, to find out how insurance is finally entering the twenty first century.
Could you give us an overview of how drones are changing the insurance business?
Customer demands are changing as technology advances. But, the insurance industry has been slow to conform to societal changes due to its inherent nature of risk mitigation. The adoption of drones within the insurance industry will ease claim efficiency, fraud, and the need for instantaneous customer service, while also mitigating the risk of sending adjusters/inspectors up ladders or into other dangerous environments.
Insurance companies will need to adopt new technologies in order to maintain high customer expectations in a world of instant gratification. Drones and other technologies allow carriers to do that while increasing the bottom line at the same time.
Looking at this from another angle, drones may and hopefully will, have an impact on the future industry workforce.
Right now, for example, the average age of an insurance agent in the United States is 59 (according to a 2015 report by McKinsey) – insurance, as we all know, is largely seen as “old-fashioned” by millennials.
Insurance agencies will have no choice but to try and attract large numbers of young people who ostensibly have no interest in an “uncool” business like insurance. And the best way to do that, in my opinion, is to make insurance cool – drones can do that.
How widespread is the involvement of drones in insurance currently, and how do we expect it to expand in future?
Currently, there are a few carriers that have adopted or are in the process of adopting drone technology into their claims process. Erie Insurance was the first carrier to use a drone to inspect a homeowners roof damage. Travelers has been testing drone technology in their Claim University. Hartford Steam Boiler has been looking at drone adoption for internal boiler inspections. Liberty Mutual, State Farm and American Family Insurance and Farmers are all in either a testing or beta phase of using the technology in very limited scenarios.
Carriers may see the cost, training and government regulation of drone implementation as a major barrier for them to adopt the technology internally. That’s where DropIn comes in. We have the foundation, and turn-key products, to ease any carrier misgivings on implementing the technology in full without a major financial expense.
What other industries that are known to lack innovation are drones having a big impact on?
I think the biggest industry will be transportation. Innovation happens when technology helps an industry accelerate exponentially. Transportation has been stagnant due to the lack of rapid accessibility. Packages can be delivered quicker by bypassing traffic. Medicine can be delivered to remote or inaccessible areas. Search and rescue drones may be able to transport injured patients where helicopters can’t access as well as passenger transportation, as we are seeing in Dubai.