Inspire Insurtech Series
Insurtech Interview: https://insurtechaustralia.org/inspire-insurtech-series-airassess
TELL US AIRASSESS’S BRIEF PITCH
AirAssess conducts rapid roof inspections for insurers and their supply chains, reducing claim cycle times, enhancing the customer experience and improving safety. We achieve this with drones, our intelligent technology platform and a national network of pilots.
SO HOW DID AIRASSESS BEGIN?
AirAssess sprung to life off the back of a chat between its co-founders (Lorraine Scott and Anthony Marsh) who had previously worked together on drone projects, about the lack of any tailored solution for the insurance market. While drones were being used in basically every other industry at scale, our early experience was that existing offerings did little to add value or remove friction for insurers, inhibiting their adoption of this powerful technology. We founded AirAssess to build an eco-system comprising pilots, trades and technology solutions, empowering insurers to incorporate drones into each and every roof inspection at scale, while delivering superior customer outcomes.
HOW HAS AIRASSESS EVOLVED SINCE INCEPTION?
We initially started AirAssess with an idea, a handful of pilot projects and a small team. Our process involved receiving a manual referral for assessment, allocating resources, obtaining inspection imagery by Dropbox or email, preparing inspection reports in Word, converting them to a PDF and then emailing them to clients, e.g. there was great value in the final product, but the process to get there was incredibly labour intensive and difficult to scale.
Fast forward to today and we’ve got a national network of over 200 drone pilots and trades, are about to hit 6,000 inspections (most completed over the past 6 months), captured data for most general insurers in Australia, and we’ve automated the bulk of our processes, enabling us to average a turnaround time of less than 48 hours from claim referral to report delivery.
WHAT IS YOUR TEAM CURRENTLY WORKING ON 2019 OR WHAT HAVE YOU ACCOMPLISHED RECENTLY?
Since automating a large portion of our processes and after having ‘stress-tested’ our model (500 inspections a week at peak), we’re now exploring ways to incorporate AI and machine learning into our workflow to drive improved reporting outcomes, such as automated damage detection and classification, improved consistency and further reduction to our turnaround times.
We’re also building our API to further automate and streamline engagement and continually refine our platform based on feedback. We’ve also just started developing our first mobile app, which will bring us closer to our suppliers, insurers and their customers and improve the overall experience.
Great! We’ll hear more about this space!
HOW DOES AIRASSESS ‘GIVE BACK’?
AirAssess gives back through its industry participation and the community engagement of its team. For example, I volunteer a significant amount of my time sitting on various committees, workshops and associations in the drone industry. I am also participating in this year’s CEO Sleepout raising awareness for homelessness, volunteer for my local Beach Patrol and serve on my local tennis centre committee, among other things. As a business, we also assist drone pilots who are just starting out in their careers.
That’s a good one!
WHAT IS AIRASSESS’S BIGGEST CHALLENGE IN TODAY’S MARKETS?
I’d probably have to say that it’s a mixture of regulation and the slow uptake of emerging technology by insurers.
In terms of regulation, there are numerous applications across insurance where drone technology is a great fit, but where current regulation inhibits our ability to provide some services in a timely manner, if at all. For example, it is currently very difficult to map a large populated area shortly after a catastrophic event (bushfire, flood, cyclone etc.). We believe this will improve with time and continue to work with the regulator and industry groups to ensure we’re extracting the most value from the technology for our clients.
As for adoption, insurers are large and complex organisations and often bring in new technology well after it has been implemented by other industries. That said, this is good in a sense as it forces you to come to the table with a compelling value proposition (rather than innovation for the sake of innovation), and organisations like Insurtech Australia are helping to raise awareness and to highlight the value of embracing new technologies.
ANYTHING ELSE YOU’D LIKE TO SAY THAT WE DIDN’T ASK?
People often think of AirAssess as a drone company, and while we use drones to perform inspections across the country each and every day, we’re not a drone business. Drones are just a tool, like a spanner is to a tradie or a notebook is to an IT professional, but they do offer a number of advantages over traditional inspection methods, e.g. by getting people off roofs and out of harm’s way, reaching areas otherwise inaccessible, and capturing objective and high resolution visual data at scale. Drones form one part of our highly automated and efficient workflow and the real value is in the timely, independent and objective data we’re able to provide to our clients.
AirAssess is always looking to collaborate with like-minded companies so if you’re an insurer, supplier or innovator and think there may be an opportunity to work together, please reach out.
Finally, keep an eye out for our new product ‘AirPass’, which we’ll be launching later in 2019.