Property inspection technology continues to improve every year, which makes your job as an insurance company underwriter easier, more accurate, and efficient. What used to be a long, drawn-out affair with pen and paper in hand has become quicker, more accurate, and comprehensive thanks to the ongoing technological developments in the property inspection business. This allows your property inspector to provide you with the best service and the most useful data at an economical price.
Creative Technologies Providing Inspection Innovation
There are a number of newer home inspection technologies that allow home inspectors to conduct more comprehensive inspections that are quicker, safer, and more affordable. These are in addition to the now established use of smartphones, tablets, and laptop computers, which have made huge improvements to the way home inspections are being conducted and are now commonplace for use in the field for nearly all inspectors. A brief summary of advancing inspection technology includes:
- Unmanned aerial vehicle (drone) technology
- Enhanced home inspection computer software
- Inspection robots
- Thermal imaging (thermography)
Drones have become the preferred means for conducting property inspections more quickly and safely. They’re ideal for safely reaching areas of a home that would be otherwise difficult to reach, especially areas that are high up. Drones are great for inspecting steeply pitched roofs, eaves, chimneys, gutters, fascia, and skylights. Since property inspectors aren’t required to physically go out on a roof to inspect it, drones give your inspectors a means to actually conduct a roof inspection from a safe distance. If a property inspector fails to do a thorough roof inspection because they lack the proper equipment to do so, you might reconsider who’s doing your inspections.
Drones also provide your inspector the capability to view large properties without the need to walk around the entire location. With an aerial view of the property, everything can be seen up to and beyond property lines. Issues with adjacent areas can be readily seen and nearby hazards duly noted.
Drones can also be useful for inspecting areas on a property that might not otherwise be accessible, such as a fenced and locked backyard area where no one is available to provide entry. Drones have become an unlimited resource and one of the most useful items in the inspection technology arsenal. When your drone is coupled with a thermal imaging camera, it has the ability to find water or air leaks in roofs where they compromise a home’s energy conservation. Drones have also become considerably less expensive to purchase and less difficult to operate due to relaxed FAA regulations. This has created a boom in drone sales nationwide.
Videoscope technology is used in home inspections where image sensors are required for taking photos or videos in especially long and narrow spaces. This may include HVAC ductwork, chimney flues, crawl spaces, sewer lines, and more. These image sensors, which are basically miniaturized cameras, are attached to a flexible cable and are able to be extended or retracted by using a remote control device, images viewed in real-time on a display, and recorded on video.
Home Inspection Computer Software
Easy to read, same-day property inspection reports have become possible with the use of today’s advanced computer software. The best home inspection computer software companies out there give your inspectors the ability to compile and complete their inspection reports while still on site. They can create clean, easy-to-read reports that can be read either on mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, or on the web using a PC. Feature-packed software applications also allow for easy scheduling, integrated invoices and payments, contract management, and customized report creation.
Filthy, tight, and dangerous spaces can be inspected using inspection robots, providing your inspector real-time and video recordable information from a safe distance. These high-tech robots may feature rugged four-wheel drive, wireless remote control, streaming video using high-resolution HD cameras, onboard lights, roll cages for protecting cameras, and a low profile height for easy access in shallow spaces. These devices are especially useful in checking attics and crawl spaces, where issues with energy efficiency and pest infestation can often be detected.
Thermal imaging technology is able to detect major issues during a home inspection that may otherwise go unnoticed. A thermal imaging camera, also known as an infrared camera, provides an additional visual picture of the inside and outside of a building, translating temperature into a color representation. These temperature maps are used to detect a number of problems, such as:
- Water leaks
- HVAC duct leaks
- Defective insulation
- Leaky doors and windows
- Hot spots from faulty circuits in outlets or electrical panels
- Fractures in a home’s foundation
Thermal imaging is also sometimes capable of detecting the location of certain pests within a home in areas such as walls or attics. This is only possible if these pests produce enough heat so as to transfer to surfaces within the home. Large wasp or beehives have been uncovered within the walls of a home using this technology. These cameras are also often attached to drones or inspection robots to check for issues in hard-to-reach areas such as crawl spaces or rooftops.
Inspection Results Keep Improving
As an insurance company underwriter, you have the choice of whom to hire to conduct your property inspections. While there are still some old-school inspectors out there who continue as always, making changes at a snail’s pace to incorporate new inspection technologies, others are on a fast track to modernize the process. Taking advantage of advanced technologies sets these latter inspectors ahead of the rest.
One of the most important aspects of technological advancements regarding property inspections is the relationship between data collection and reporting. The old method of inspecting with a pen and paper on a clipboard, taking photos with a mobile or digital camera, and then going back to the office to compile everything wastes time and can be confusing. Putting such a report together professionally and accurately is time-consuming and lends itself to inaccuracies.
Quality property inspection software allows your inspector to compile all needed data while on-site, adding photos and videos seamlessly to the report. Once completed, the report can be sent to the cloud with the press of a button, where you can access it immediately. Reports come out neat and professional-looking, with no need to sift through piles of paper to obtain the needed information for your underwriting requirements.
Property inspections have long been a cornerstone of property insurance underwriting and the most productive inspection companies continually remain on the cutting edge of the industry’s advancing technologies. Inspection Risk Services (IRS) has been staying ahead of the game for nearly 40 years and remains one of the preeminent inspection firms in the industry. They work exclusively for insurance companies, helping underwriters ensure a most accurate underwriting process. Contact IRS for further information on what they have to offer to bolster your underwriting efforts.