Insurance companies often face delays in getting you the money that you deserve under the terms of your policy after catastrophic events such as hurricanes. Not only do they like to put up red tape, but they are also facing scores of other claims that require their adjusters to be in many places at one time. Insurers are increasingly turning to technology to obtain quicker analysis of damages. However, this may not be the boon to you that insurance companies would lead you to believe.
Insurance Companies Say That Technology Gets You Paid Quicker
Insurers are now relying on things such as drones and thermographic imaging to get a closer look at hurricane damages. When insurance companies received approval to fly drones from the Federal Aviation Administration, they claimed that this technology could allow them to pay claims more quickly and would reduce any danger to adjusters. Hurricane Harvey was one of the first major storms where insurance companies first began to use this tool. Some insurers have launched large fleets of drones to help them respond to large-scale events like hurricanes.
The insurers claim that drones will help them avoid large backlogs of claims after major storms. They have said that drones will help them improve customer service. In addition, adjusters will not have to climb on as many roofs to inspect damaged homes. In some cases, drones may actually replace an adjuster’s inspection entirely, or it may reduce the amount of work that the adjuster does at the home.
Technology Cuts Insurance Companies’ Costs, But Does it Help You?
Insurance companies have claimed that they are “pretty confident” that they could make accurate estimates of damages using drones. As a claimant, when an insurance company is confident about anything, you should be worried. While adjusters climbing on roofs is dangerous and time-consuming, it also allows them to get the best look at the damage to your home. Industry publications are touting the “success” that insurance companies are having with the use of drones.
If there are any guesstimates that happen from the use of drones, you can rest assured that it will not be in your favor. There are concerns that the use of drones could be another way to further the advantage that the insurance company may have in the claims process. To the extent that drones give insurance companies a quicker view of damage, they may use it to deny claims on the basis that damage was caused by flooding. While manual inspection may add time to your claim, it also has safeguards that could protect your own interests.
Be Careful About Quick Settlement Offers from Insurance Companies
On the other hand, advanced technology could mean that the claims process could happen more quickly, if the real reason for using drones really is to speed up payment. This would mean that you would need to be prepared for what may be a negotiation with the insurance company. Quick settlement offers may be a way for the insurer to sneak a low payment past you in the name of efficiency that does not fully pay your damages.
Thermographic Imaging to Detect Water Damages
Similarly, insurance companies also claim that they are using thermal imaging to get a more detailed look at hurricane damage. Specifically, insurance companies use these images to pinpoint the source of damages from leaks and floods. They use differences in temperature to spot moisture patterns.
They say that this technology picks up damages that inspectors otherwise would miss. In our experience, insurance companies do not invest millions of dollars in new technologies to pay policyholders more money. When you are dealing with insurers, it simply does not work this way. To the extent that insurers save money through using these technologies, the money will flow straight through to their bottom line, and it will not stop them from their usual practice of trying to underpay claims.
Note that insurance policies that pay for hurricane damage do not cover flood damages. Homeowners would need to purchase a separate policy to pay for flooding damage. The use of thermal imaging technology could be a way for an insurance company to actually deny your claim and make it the responsibility of the flood insurance company as opposed to paying your claim more precisely and quickly.
You Can Use Technology to Help Your Own Claim
However, you can also use thermal imaging to your own advantage. You do not have to wait for the insurance company to deny your claim, arguing that your damage was caused by flooding. You can hire a public adjuster of your own to estimate your claim. The same way that thermal imaging technology could be used by the insurance company to deny your claim, it can also be used in support of your claim by showing that your damages were not caused by floods. Technology can also work to your advantage when the insurance company is trying to avoid paying.
Given New Orleans’ location in the path of frequent storms, you can expect the insurance company to deploy these technologies the next time that a hurricane comes through the area and causes widespread damage. This could change the way that they handle your claim. When you have a large insurance claim after a storm, you will benefit from legal advice from a knowledgeable lawyer. You do not have to be left holding the bag when an insurance company does not want to pay you for the full value of your property damage after a storm.
New Orleans Property Damage Lawyers
Egenberg Trial Lawyers are experienced attorneys who have a track record of going after insurance companies who have either refused to pay our clients that they deserve or are offering much less than the fair value of claims. We know how to put the pressure on insurance companies when they are trying to avoid paying claims. Call us today at (504) 229-5700 or contact us online to set up a time to discuss your case.