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Insurance association to use aerial photos

An association of disaster insurance companies is using aerial and satellite photography to quickly inspect damage in heavily-hit disaster areas and get payments to those whose homes have been completely destroyed.
Normally, insurance adjusters inspect damaged homes one-by-one to determine the appropriate payment amount.
However, because many areas in Japan’s northeast were completely wiped out by tsunami and fires that followed the March 11, 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, the General Insurance Association of Japan (GIAJ) decided that in some places aerial or satellite photographs would be sufficient to judge whether homes had been completely destroyed. By using the photographs, the association hopes to shorten the usual one to two weeks it takes to get payments to policy holders.
This is the first time the GIAJ has ever allowed houses to be judged as completely destroyed based only on photographs. Insurance holders whose houses are completely destroyed generally receive 100 per cent of the value of their homes.
So far, aerial photography is being used for three cities and towns that were heavily damaged by the tsunami — Kesennuma in Miyagi Prefecture, and Otsuchi and Yamada in Iwate Prefecture. The GIAJ plans to expand the system to cover more areas. It will announce those areas on its website.
The GIAJ has also introduced a simplified method for insurance holders to claim minor damages to furnishings or wooden homes by submitting photographs.

Source: The Mainichi Daily News