A new service promises to provide insurance claims adjusters with videos of losses without them ever having to leave their desks. The videos would be supplied by an Uber-like network of smartphone users and, eventually, also drone operators.
Los Angeles-based DropIn Inc. is offering an on-demand streaming video service that allows adjusters to direct a contracted smartphone user to the exact area they’d like to cover – while remaining in their office.
Adjusters would also be able to obtain first notice of loss by sending a link to a customer calling in with a claim, allowing the customer to stream a video of the damage back to the claims adjuster.
The firm, which was founded in May 2015 by entrepreneur Louis Ziskin, hopes to expand the service by making drone operators available later this year.
[Correction: A previous version of this story indicated that all services are in beta. Only the drone service is in beta; all other DropIn services are currently available.]
DropIn current claims to have a network of 64,000 independent contractor smartphone users called Droperators and more than 1,100 drone pilots worldwide, with 50 percent being former military veterans.
DropIn explains how the service works in a video on its website: The adjuster enters the address of the location they are interested in viewing via the Desktop platform or app. Based on proximity, the closest Droperator is notified via a text message on their smartphone that they have a live stream request. After accepting the request assignment, the Droperator deploys to the location, and when the Droperator is within 100 feet of the destination, the user’s screen changes to “launch” letting them know they can start recording. The Droperator initiates the live stream and is able to communicate with the insurance professional and capture all requested photos and video of the damaged property.
According to the company, Droperators do not have access to the photos or videos they create. Only users can download recordings. Adjusters obtain the videos and data and can retain a history on the client. None of the data or personal information is stored on DropIn’s server or on the Droperator’s smartphone, according to the firm.
The company’s website acknowledges that there may be issues about carrier requirements and licensing of its remote video suppliers. “Much like Uber, there are varying requirements for DropIn. Some clients may require a background check and or licensing,” the web site informs prospective Droperators.
The company claims that its technology is a convenience for insurers seeking to preview risk for underwriting, supplementing any current live video they use for policy acquisition and claim management purposes.
“With the fires in the west, and the flooding down south, providing adjusters access to drones will save a lot of time and frustration for the claimant experiencing the loss, and the adjuster trying to help,” says Ziskin.
Drones may help minimize the risk to claims professionals during rooftop inspections and, in the event of a catastrophe, allow adjusters to access insured properties in restricted areas. The live-streamed aerial coverage also helps insurers process more claims in a shorter period of time, according to DropIn.
Founder Ziskin was cited by Entrepreneur magazine as an entrepreneur pioneer to watch in 2016. The publication describes him as “a philanthropist who speaks nationally about causes like anti-recidivism and addiction recovery.” Ziskin was jailed for 12 years after being convicted in a government seizure of the drug ecstasy and now speaks out about the importance of preventing addiction in young people.
The company lists professional golfer Anthony Kim as an advisor and several executives as partners including Tony Canas, an InsNerds.com blog co-founder; Andrew Brady, a courier and delivery industry veteran and mixed martial arts ring announcer; and Ben Parr, author of “Captivology: The Science of Capturing People’s Attention” and a former editor at Mashable and columnist for CNET.
The service is also being marketed to automotive dealers to let customers view cars remotely.
Source: DropIn Inc.
*This story appeared previously in our sister publication Insurance Journal.