Drones Slash Crop Insurance Adjuster Time, Boost Confidence

This summer after the derecho event in Iowa and Illinois, the team at RCIS and Zurich assembled a cadre of 19 people to go out and address the damage claims. 

In a six day period, the team covered 52,000 acres. 

What enabled the speed and effectiveness for the RCIS team is their growing use of drones. 

Forty-two crop adjusters at RCIS are also drone pilots and regularly assess claims by using aerial imagery they fly themselves. And the company is looking to add to that success by adding another 30 adjusters who use drones. 

The company has found two distinct benefits to deploying drones in its business: efficiency in addressing claims and building customer confidence. 

RCIS did side by side comparisons of an adjuster using traditional methods and an adjuster supplementing their methods with a drone. On certain claims, the company saw a times savings as high as 66%.

Tim Leier, Assistant Vice President of Technical Claims for RCIS, Zurich North America Insurance, explains the time savings are empowering for adjusters. 

“Our adjusters can quickly identify exactly where the damage is in the field. So imagine standing at the edge of a mature corn field, and from the road, you can’t see with your eyes where to go. But a drone can measure exactly how large and where the damage is much quicker than a field scout,” he says. 

And he says measuring the damage with a visual image gives the farmer confidence in the thoroughness of the assessment. 

“We know everywhere we need to be doing counts,” Leier says. 

One example he shares is of a tornado that went through a field. Not only was the adjuster able to measure its exact path, but also mapped where debris was so the farmer didn’t have to worry about unknown trash damaging the combine.

“And then this summer, addressing the derecho damage, we saw fields that were completely flat, but we also were able to see that there were plenty of fields that just had pocked of damage to address,” he says. 

You can read more about this program here.