Derek Chaiken

Derek Chaiken is in the Merlin Law Group Los Angeles office. He is a Los Angeles Dodger fan and a student of drone usage during the property insurance claim process. Drones are no longer science fiction, but a fairly common part of modern property insurance claims adjustment. With stronger cameras and other advanced technical measuring devises, drone usage is an efficient tool all property insurance adjusters should use during the adjustment process.

I was visiting Derek in Los Angeles yesterday going over a new Malibu fire claim dispute. The insurance company hired a “consulting” firm to determine the amount of reconstruction cost of a totally destroyed custom home. The dollar amount of the total loss was determined to be less than 50% of the policy limit, which is simply unbelievable for those of us familiar with the extraordinary construction costs following the Malibu wildfires.

I was also thinking how helpful drone video of the remnants could be used to show the remaining portions of the building, the area of damage, the topography of the anticipated construction site and how the entire devastated neighborhood looked following the fire. Of course, these consultants had none of this completed and relied upon eye level photos and a satellite photograph of the loss site.

Derek and insurance defense attorney James Michael Shaw of Butler Weihmuller Katz Craig, recently gave a presentation at an America Bar Association event about drone usage and they noted the following:

Safety and economic considerations continue to drive drone usage in claim adjusting. Drones have become valuable resources to insurance companies when assessing catastrophic disasters, including floods or earthquakes, where access to areas can be restricted by civil authorities and/or is too dangerous for adjusters to enter. Drones usage should also theoretically lead to shorter claim adjustment times and improved customer services.

All property adjusters who want to better document the loss should be using drones as a normal part of their adjustment practice. Aerial views provide another aspect of the loss. The video cameras can quickly show the loss site and the entire neighboring area of damage. There is no downside of drone usage to policyholders whom all adjusters are duty bound to promptly determine the full measure of loss. Drones plus other longstanding adjustment practices simply make for a more efficient and thorough evaluation of loss.

The Butler firm has gone so far as to write an entire book on the topic of drone use in property insurance adjusting: Butler on Drones (Third Edition): A Practical Guide for Insurers. Here is the link to obtain a copy.

Thought For The Day

It’s a drone nation where everything and everyone is remotely controlled.
—Bryant McGill