LSM’s Pedler: SAR data can enhance claims process

One of the major challenges for insureds in the aftermath of a major loss event can be the delay in claims settlement as the adjustment process takes place.

However, technological advances are now helping transform traditional methods of claims handling, helping speed up the payment process.

One such development has been the use of synthetic-aperture radar (SAR), which essentially allows the creation of high-resolution imagery of what is happening on the ground regardless of weather or light conditions.

Andrew Pedler, head of claims, client relationships and innovation at Liberty Specialty Markets, believes SAR can play a significant role in helping ensure carriers have sufficient and accurate data at hand to release an early interim or full payment without having to wait for an adjuster report.

For an indemnity-based policy where some investigation is needed, Pedler said traditional satellite and aerial imagery had limitations as a tool.

“If you try to take images from space during and after an event, quite often you will end up with beautiful pictures of cloud formation, which can make it very difficult to adjust the underlying loss.

“SAR data changes that because of the way it works in sending that radar down and bouncing it off the ground to give you a picture of what is happening – that negates the issue of having to look through a weather event.”

The speed and frequency at which the data is available is also critical when responding to a claim.

“With a wildfire, something burns down and it’s gone for a period of time. But flood doesn’t do that – it comes in and then recedes, and the peak of the flood is really important.

“So the time at which you get that image is absolutely key. Too early you’re going to miss the peak and you will under-assess the damage; too late and you’re going to miss that.

“We need to be aware of where our insured locations are damaged and to what extent at multiple times during an event.”

At a portfolio level, Pedler said this enables the carrier to understand where to allocate adjusters.

Pedler was speaking as part of a panel discussion hosted by The Insurer and satellite data specialist ICEYE. To watch or listen to the full panel discussion, please click on the video below. You can also view further coverage of the event here.