Insurance Industry Starts the Move to 3D Photography

HomePlan NZ Ltd are an official sponsor and will be exhibiting at Insurance Business TechFest event to be held 19 November 2019 at the Hilton Auckland.

In advance of this event, this article discusses and provides real world examples of the use of HomePlan’s 3D photography and virtual walkthrough technology platform, Matterport, in the insurance industry for homes, businesses and contents.

Major Insurance Industry Partnership Announced in USA

In June 2019 EMC Insurance Companies, a leading commercial property and casualty insurer, announced it has partnered with Matterport to use 3D reality capture on commercial properties for loss control and claims management.  EMC is the first property insurer to fully deploy Matterport’s technology for commercial claims in order to drive efficiency and maintain its strong brand of customer satisfaction.  Read the full press release here.

But why?

What Matterport are Saying

A Matterport (and therefore HomePlan) 3D virtual walkthrough is able to capture any loss in its entirety, including its exact dimensions – with no ability to alter images or measurements.

This means less time spent sketching, photographing and arguing over line items and more time spent estimating, adjusting, repairing and ultimately – getting a policyholder’s life back in order.

It is an unbiased source of truth to reality at a certain point in time.   Every scan is time-stamped, there is no ability to alter photos, and dimensions are accurate within 1%.

How This Can Improve Insurance Claims Handling

  1. Streamlined operations:  Detailed 3D site scans are captured quickly and able to be securely distributed and accessed to triage cases and conduct reviews remotely. This improvement alone can boost operational efficiency, saving adjusters valuable time in the field.
  2. Improved catastrophic event response:  When the worse happens, insurance companies come under intense pressure to assess, accept and resolve claims quickly. Having access to a single 3D virtual walkthrough/site scan for each property involved is more efficient and more absolute that trying to piece together thousands of individual photos, and allows more of the adjuster’s work to be performed from the desktop.
  3. Increased transparency:  Securely sharing a 3D virtual walkthrough between field and desk adjusters, appraisers, investigators, consultants, mortgage inspectors, contractors and subcontractors gets all parties on the same page, accessing the same base information they need to dispense with claims quickly.
  4. Better adjusting quality:  Claim accuracy is key and continual improvement is necessary as policyholder expectations climb. Moving to 3D photography allows insurance companies to operate remote quality assurance functions and enable detailed forensic documentation processes like never before.
  5. Reduced exposure to contractor fraud:  An unfortunate reality is that some contractors tasked with repair work will exaggerate damage and the required remediation that the insurance company needs to be pay for.  Having an irrefutable time slice of the property’s condition prior to the work commencing allows such situations to be retrospectively reviewed, using time-stamped and tamper-proof high resolution 3D imagery.
  6. Streamlined operations:  Detailed 3D site scans are captured quickly and able to be securely distributed and accessed to triage cases and conduct reviews remotely. This improvement alone can boost operational efficiency, saving adjusters valuable time in the field.
  7. Higher customer satisfaction:  3D technology facilitates high-transparency and faster claims handling, making it possible for insurers to keep customers engaged and quickly guide them through a shortened claims cycle. It also ensures that structural and property damage is well documented, and that nothing is missing from final settlements —meticulousness that maintains a policyholder’s confidence in the insurer for the long term.​

So Much More Than Just a Virtual Tour

A potential misconception is that when you commission a HomePlan 3D virtual walkthrough, that’s all you get.

Not so – you can extract key information to use independent of the walkthrough experience:

  • High resolution image exports:  Matterport’s 3D Camera captures 132MP imagery in equirectangular format, which can then be exported at the angle, perspective and zoom you need into the traditional 2D (and 3D!) .JPG image formats.  The photographic quality is outstanding, with exported images produced at up to 8092 x 4552 pixels (depending on the zoom level). Printed that’s A2 @ 300 DPI.
  • 2D floor plans:  Simple architectural floor plans, including room dimensions and floor space calculations, can be automatically produced in .PDF and .JPG formats.
  • Architectural files:  More comprehensive data can be exported for use in specialist architectural software.  This includes 3D.XYZ mesh files, .OBJ colorized point cloud files and photographic reflected ceiling plans. 
  • Xactimate™ integration:  Matterport recently announced a new offering called TrueSketch that produces a .SKX file that can easily be uploaded into Xactimate™ property claims software.  With these files, you no longer have to measure and manually sketch losses.

Will it Work in New Zealand?

Though every insurance company will have its own constraints, as a whole adopting 3D photography as they are now doing in the USA is not geographically limited.

Every now and then something comes along that revolutionizes how we think, work and play.  We created HomePlan NZ because we objectively and passionately believe in the wide and positive impact that the 3D digital capture of residential, commercial and heritage properties using the Matterport platform will have on the lives of New Zealanders.

Imagine how much we could have helped reduce stress and supported the EQC and insurance claims process following the Christchurch earthquakes, if homeowners had a HomePlan 3D virtual walkthrough of their properties before, and if it had been used during the claims and rebuild process.

On an average sized Kiwi home, a HomePlan 3D virtual walkthrough can be created in 1-2 hours and available within 24 hours.  It can be held securely, and then accessed from any device without any specialist software.  There is no big ICT system that needs to be adopted, no hefty ongoing subscription fees (only a minor hosting fee) and definitely no “per user” fees.

All I’m asking New Zealand is that insurance companies have a look. Then come and have a chat.  Contact us any time, else the HomePlan NZ team will see you at Insurance Business TechFest on 19 November 2019, at the Hilton Auckland.