Insuring a property is a complicated process. First, the insurer must correctly underwrite the risks associated with each type of claim. This takes into account the likelihood of small incidents, like slips, leaks, or equipment failures, and also takes into consideration larger risk factors like earthquakes, floods, or economic downturns. Next, an insurer must keep its policy up to date as building conditions change and the macro-economic situation evolves. Finally, the insurer must address any claims that are made by assessing their liability and working with the contractors to correct any damage.
All of these processes started out as manual, doing tremendous work to insure all the properties in the country. An army of actuaries creates the underwriting calculations. Hordes of experts are tasked with inspecting the damage and filing claims. A whole industry of contractors maintains buildings and solves problems covered by insurance policies. As this creates a huge amount of work and overhead for insurance companies, they use every tool possible to streamline their process. 3D imaging is one of the technologies increasingly used by the insurance industry. Interestingly, it was first adopted for work on the backend of a claim, adjustment and repair, but it works its way into the whole process from there.
“We first saw interest in our 3D images coming from restoration contractors,” said Tomer Poran, business development and partnerships manager at 3D imaging technology company Matterport. He explained that the 3D models were used to estimate the cost of repairs. The software was now able to easily use 3D imagery to show the extent of the damage and how it fits into the overall layout of the property. Besides being a much easier way to measure and document damage, it was also a great way for contractors to please an expert by making their job much easier. “If you’re a contractor, having a fitter like you work is huge because it’s a primary source of lead for many large restoration companies,” Poran said.
Today, Matterport has approximately 1,500 contractors nationwide using its imaging and measurement software. They’ve even created a network of contractors cleared to operate during COVID-19 as an essential service, and able to plan and arrive onsite at any building in the United States within eight hours, ready to go. capture the loss in 3D.
These images are proving more valuable than ever during the COVID-19 pandemic. Workers and residents both fear exposing themselves to the virus during a claims process. Being able to refer to a holistic picture of a property has therefore become a way to avoid risking exposure for all parties involved. As they become an integral part of the insurance industry, we will likely see discounts for buildings that already have these images accessible. They can also be a great way for building owners and management to share information about their equipment, building history, and past claims. All of this and more can be attached to these 3D digital twins, creating an intuitive way for someone to quickly understand the idiosyncrasies inherent in each building.
Poran sees the opportunity for 3D imaging to not only help solve problems, but also prevent them altogether. “We are developing machine learning algorithms that can identify possible risks from these images, such as slip and fall hazards,” he said.
As they analyze the large amount of images entered into their database each day, the ability to automate compliance increases. Eventually, every insurance policy could first include an automated risk reduction process that could save policyholders and insurers millions. Now Matterport has created a way for that same 3D scanning technology to be done with nothing more than an iPhone, which could allow owners themselves to provide a preliminary 3D analysis of the loss before anyone else does. enter the place.
Insuring buildings will always be a difficult process. Claims are expensive, buildings are unique, and so many things can go wrong in a place where people spend most of their time. Most InsureTech companies attempt to tackle real estate risk with socio-demographics, rooftop images, and chatbots, but the majority of real estate risk is related to the appearance of the building’s interior.
Matterport is trying to improve the data available to underwriters on interior properties. This difficult process of risk assessment and complaint handling can, however, be simplified. The availability of high quality and inexpensive 3D imaging is already transforming the way claims are handled and will likely soon become an integral part of the whole process. They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Very soon we will be able to see exactly what a 3D image is worth, but in dollars rather than words.