Back in 1962, a book called The Success System That Never Fails was published by self-help book author, philanthropist and founder of a multi-billion dollar insurance company W. Clement Stone. What has since become a popular phrase in business management was coined on page 7 of this book – something Stone called “a secret of success” – “Don’t expect what you don’t inspect.”
This adage has been quoted by many in both business and the military for the past 60 years. It’s also a great lesson for parents to pass along to their children. The fact is, no expectation of a certain action or attitude is enough to elicit a desired result without following up with an inspection that the expectation has been fulfilled.
Insurance Inspections and Advancing Inspection Technology
One area of business where inspections are especially important is insurance. Some examples include:
- Property inspections associated when writing a property insurance policy
- A vehicle inspection when a policyholder is making a post-accident insurance claim
- A health inspection (or physical) when issuing life insurance coverage
The expectation of you, as an insurance company underwriter, regarding the issuance of policies, is that they will produce profits for your company. That’s the only way to stay in business and the reason your company is in business. The best way to fulfill this expectation is to utilize the latest inspection technology advancements to help ensure that the policyholders you bring on board present the least amount of insurance risk to your company.
Property Inspection Trends
Residential insurance is an important segment of the insurance industry as statistics show that more than 90% of American homeowners have their homes insured. A property inspection being conducted in conjunction with the writing of a homeowners insurance policy is meant to help uncover a number of important aspects concerning a particular property:
- What is an accurate replacement value of the property in the event that it’s totally destroyed by a covered peril?
- Is the amount of coverage being sought commensurate with the property’s actual value?
- What is the general condition of the property, including the four most important aspects: Electrical system, plumbing system, HVAC system, and roof.
- Are there any visible risks or liabilities that should be addressed prior to policy finalization?
- Are there any security measures in place such as a monitored alarm system or other anti-theft devices that could translate into a premium discount for the homeowner?
- The degree of the homeowner’s pride of ownership, which can be a useful indication of how someone cares for their property. Untidiness within or outside a residence can give an idea of how likely the owner is in filing future claims. This subjective data should be included with the objective data used to determine whether a policy should be issued and at what cost to the policyholder.
Advancing Property Inspection Trends
The nature of home inspections has been steadily changing due to the advancing inspection technology that has allowed inspections to become quicker, easier to complete, more accurate, and less costly.
One of the chief improvements affecting property inspections is the use of computerized, mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones. New inspection technologies and practices utilizing these mobile devices are making what was once a time-consuming, painstaking process much simpler.
The ability to compile required data in a standard format and complete a report while still on the property is a huge time saver. The process precludes the old pen and notebook method of compiling data and then having to go back to the office to transcribe all the collected information onto a computer. Your property inspector also has the capability to provide photos and/or videos of a property and, if desired, you, as the underwriter, can even “go along” virtually on an inspection tour with the use of streaming video.
These capabilities afforded through the use of mobile devices provide your insurance company with the means for obtaining needed current, accurate risk data in a speedy, cost-effective process. From instant order receipt to real-time routing and on-site report completion including photos and videos, enhances the providing of superior customer service.
Other Inspection Technology Advancements
In addition to an inspector’s smartphone providing mobile access through the Internet to your office for streaming visual data in real time, these mobile phones have several other uses during property inspections. When coupled with a drone, or unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), high-resolution cameras now available with many smartphones can make property inspections easier, faster, and safer. Here are some examples of this:
- Unaccessible properties such as back yards that are gated and locked still need to be inspected, requiring someone to be on-site to facilitate access. As an alternative, a drone fitted with a mobile phone camera can be used to get a close-up observation of the yard without gaining entry. This is important in the case of backyard swimming pools, trampolines, outbuildings, tree houses, etc.
- Rooftop inspections can be difficult and dangerous, especially in winter. Rather than the inspector actually getting out on the roof for an inspection, a drone can be used to take a hi-res video of this area of a home or business. Some rooftops may be impossible to access, such as steep church steeples. Camera-equipped drones can make close-up inspection possible. The same is true of some high-rise buidings where externally located systems may require inspection but afford little access.
- Large properties requiring inspection can prove to be time and labor-intensive when utilizing the old “boots on the ground” method. A camera-equipped drone can make the task both easier and quicker and give the inspector a bird’s eye view of the entire property, including surrounding areas, where risks may also exist. An aerial view of a property is much more beneficial than a mere street view.
- Drone video footage can be useful in comparing current versus historic imagery, especially valuable at policy renewal time to see what on the property has changed. It may also be useful for looking at the damage a property has suffered following a covered perils claim has been submitted.
Fulfilling Insurance Company Inspection Needs
Insurance companies require and depend on the receipt of risk data that are current, accurate, and obtained quickly at the most cost-effective means available. To satisfy this need, inspection providers are utilizing the latest technologies to provide uncompromising service to their insurance company clients. This means “doorstep completion” of reports while still in the field before leaving the property being inspected. Sent to the cloud, these reports can be accessed immediately by you, the underwriter, streamlining the entire underwriting process.
Inspection companies such as Insurance Risk Services (IRS), with nearly four decades of experience, is on the leading edge of the property insurance game. Partnering with IRS can bring greater accuracy and cost-effectiveness to your underwriting efforts. Contact IRS for a better idea of just what they can do for you.