Old Mutual to use ‘insurance drones’ to investigate car accidents

Old Mutual plans to be the first South African insurer to use drones.

After a two-year planning and pre-registration process, the company says it has passed the operational audit and demonstration flights as required by the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA).

It is now in the final certification phase of obtaining its remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS) operator licence.

“The application of drone technology in our business is an empowering game changer – it will significantly improve our risk assessments, underwriting and quantification of assets through improved data collection, field assessments, high-quality photos, videos and analysis,” said Christelle Colman, an insurance expert at Old Mutual Insure.

Colman said that accident reconstruction software has the ability to import aerial accident scene photography and vehicle crush damage which will enhance the overall final product and accuracy.

“Drone operations will further reduce our operational, safety and fraud risks; fast-track and improve claims adjudication and processing; cut operational costs through enhanced efficiency and ultimately elevate our customer experience,” she said.

“The technological advances that drone solutions offer for agricultural catastrophe and storm damage assessments are extensive.”

Colman said that Old Mutual iWYZE will expand its drone operations and deployment in the group over the next few years, with the company hoping to use the technology across a variety of applications.

“We’ve identified exciting opportunities which hold the potential of significant cost savings and return on investment in our domestic assessment, surveying and agricultural business units,” said Colman.

“In addition, our commercial drone deployment will act as a catalyst for job creation as we will need more licensed employee drone pilots, technicians and safety and security managers in our major regions.”

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