Tathra Fires, April 2018

After successful trials earlier in the year, the Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) engaged BIRDI to assist with the post-disaster claims process following natural disasters. The Tathra Fires in April 2018 presented the first opportunity to for the ICA to dispatch drones to capture data of the devastated area through the BIRDI platform. 

The ICA is the representative body of the general insurance industry in Australia. Their members represent approximately 95% of total premium income written by private sector general insurers.

The Australian insurance industry is pursuing opportunities to speed up the insurance claims process in an effort to reduce the time it takes to rebuild communities following disasters. At the Insurance Council of Australia we see the need for an industry approach.  BIRDI’s drone management platform is helping us to design, develop and integrate drone operations in a safe and scalable manner in post disaster recovery.

Nick Weisner , Insurance Council of Australia

Our client’s problem:

Australian insurance industry is pursuing opportunities to speed up the post-disaster claims process in an effort to reduce the time that civilians are forced to wait before rebuilding their lives.

Following natural disasters, access to the disaster zone is often prohibited for some time, preventing insurers from validating claims.

Dispatching drones following natural disasters has the capability to cut claims-processing costs, accelerate customer service, and generate additional underwriting data. By combining drones with machine learning, insurance companies will be able to improve predictions of damage and set premiums more accurately.

BIRDI’s Solution

In the case of the 2018 Tathra fires, the BIRDI platform received the ICA’s request for drone footage and matched local drone pilots to capture aerial imagery of the Tathra areas devastated by fire within hours of the request.

The BIRDI platform was able to assist in:

  1. Provision of qualified drone pilots – the ICA do not have in-house qualified remote pilots.
  2. Matched local drone pilots within hours of the request – saving time and money as drone pilots didn’t need to be flown in to capture footage. 
  3. Aerial imagery capture of Tathra areas devastated within 24 hours – over 1,250 hectares of aerial photography captured.
  4. Aerial imagery processed on the BIRDI platform – the BIRDI platform integrates with a variety of third party software providers.

Figure 1: Property damage

Figure 3: Neighbourhood damage

Figure 2: Property damage

Figure 4: Street damage

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