USA: Citizens Property Insurance Corporation, a not-for-profit insurance corporation that provides insurance protection to Florida policyholders who are entitled to but are unable to find property insurance coverage in the private market, joins the Geospatial Intelligence Center (GIC), an insurance industry consortium spearheaded by the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB). As the GIC’s newest member, Citizens now has access to advanced imagery and data to better serve its policyholders with enhanced disaster response to expedite claims and improve fraud detection following a hurricane or other disaster.
The GIC combines the technical expertise of Vexcel Imaging, an industry-leading photogrammetric and remote sensing company and Esri, the global market leader in geographic information systems to provide the tools and analytics to help insurers make fast, accurate and cost-effective decisions when writing a policy and when dealing with claims following a disaster.
In the hours and days after a disaster, the GIC fleet of aircraft will fly over impacted areas to capture and assess damage to provide members with unprecedented imagery and data on impacted properties. The NICB, working with law enforcement and disaster scene commanders, has provided the GIC with access to disaster areas as soon as it is safe to fly. The GIC is able to provide imagery and data to members within 24-36 hours of the aircraft touching down.
In 2017, Citizens piloted the GIC program post-Hurricane Irma and because of its improved situational awareness, Citizens’ sped up the claims process by several weeks. With the post-disaster survey-grade aerial imagery, Citizens was able to better identify high-damage areas, which helped with the placement of RVs and tents at Citizens Response Centers (CRC).
“The GIC provides the technology needed to provide a fast assessment of damage in the aftermath of a disaster,” said NICB Chief Operating Officer Jim Schweitzer. “We are proud that Citizens’ recognizes the value of getting quick access to disaster areas, particularly those affected by hurricanes in Florida, to better serve its policyholders and get them on the road to recovery faster.”
The GIC provides members with tools to compare before and after high-resolution aerial imagery following catastrophic events such as hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, hailstorms and wildfires. The imagery is also made available free of charge to first responders and emergency personnel to allow them to better assess the extent of damages and coordinate their response. The information will also provide valuable evidence to help the NICB fight fraudulent claims, which are a frequent problem after catastrophes.
The GIC is committed to mapping the top metropolitan areas with high-resolution aerial imagery each year and the entire continental United States every other year. This includes 45-degree oblique images in urban areas that allow for a rotatable image of any property.