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Insurers are Speeding Up Claims. Their Worry: More Mistakes

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Leslie Scism and Nicole Friedman for Wall Street Journal

August 5, 2018

Property insurers are relying on more drones, small aircraft and artificial intelligence to accelerate claims during 2018’s hurricane season. There are signs this push for speed could pose new headaches for the industry.

Last year marked the first widespread use of aerial technology to pinpoint damages and evaluate losses quickly as insurers scrambled to keep up with back-to-back hurricanes and wildfires.

But some insurers have reopened claims from that period because initial repair estimates turned out to be too low, according to executives and regulators.

“We’re cautious. You don’t want to find out you did an incomplete job and need to reopen the claim.”

Ross Buchmueller, President & CEO of PURE Insurance

In Texas, for the vast majority of homeowners who filed claims following Hurricane Harvey’s Aug. 25 landfall, it took an average of 24.5 days for resolution, according to state insurance-department data as of Oct. 31. In Florida, about half of complaints to an insurance hotline following Hurricane Irma involved claim delays.

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