Page 48

INMAG FEB 2015_page layouts 17/02/2015 7:56 pm Page 48

Bird’s eye view: damage caused by a bushfire on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula

CASA says it is reviewing its rules on commercial and recreational drone use, with some changes possible early this year. Amendments could include removing the need for commercial certification on craft lighter than two kilograms, as suggested during a parliamentary review of drone safety and privacy last year. The push for drone use is also coming from outside the insurance industry. Australian UAV is a commercial operator that works in surveying and mapping, using $40,000 fixed-wing eBee drones that cover hundreds of hectares a day. The company is now looking to expand into loss management assessments. Director James Rennie is a natural resources scientist who provided hydrological analysis to loss adjusters following the major floods of 2011 and 2012. He says there are many benefits in having aerial photography available to adjusters immediately after a storm, flood or fire. “After large bushfires or flood events, for example, if you were doing a crop loss [assessment], we could give you to within a few metres the actual area of crop loss. “So rather than trying to estimate it from the ground by driving around, we can do a full flyover and then provide a scale map that you can bring into Google Maps or another geographical information system.” From the aerial pictures it takes, Australian UAV can create 3D digital surface models showing the extent of flooding. It can also provide elevation data 48

that helps identify the difference between floodwater damage and stormwater damage. The company’s drones can be fitted with “nearinfrared” cameras that give more detailed assessments of bushfire damage than normal cameras or the naked eye. Australian UAV has already performed surveys for insured parties, such as Mornington Council in

“We can do a full flyover and then provide a scale map that you can bring into Google Maps or another geographical information system.” Victoria, which recently requested a report on bushfire damage in the shire. Mr Rennie has also approached loss adjusters with a view to helping them in post-event assessments. Professor Manning believes LMI is currently the only company using a drone for loss management in this country. Australasian Institute of Chartered Loss Adjusters Chief Executive Tony Libke says it is early days but “there is definitely a use for drones”. In the US, Brown Claims Management Group, of Louisiana, is at the forefront of the trend towards insuranceNEWS

February/March 2015

Profile for Insurance News (the magazine)

FEB/MAR 2015 - Insurance News (the magazine)  

The next year is shaping up to be one of the most challenging for insurers and brokers, as investment income and premium rates plummet. The...

FEB/MAR 2015 - Insurance News (the magazine)  

The next year is shaping up to be one of the most challenging for insurers and brokers, as investment income and premium rates plummet. The...