Technology tools can help risk managers and their organizations better manage large property losses and claims, panelists said during a session Tuesday at the Risk & Insurance Management Society Inc.’s Riskworld annual conference.
Business continuity planning and strong partnerships with insurance companies are also critical to helping them mitigate the effects of large catastrophic losses, such as fires, they said.
Technology plays a big role in the claims and risk management world today, said Danny Miller, Dallas-based vice president, loss adjustment at Sedgwick Claims Management Services Inc.
For example, some aspects of the technology benefited the process and trial of a claim following a 2021fire at a QVC Inc. distribution center in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, Mr. Miller.
The fire, which broke out on December 18, 2021 and smoldered for about 30 days, resulted in one death and extensive damage to the distribution center.
Satellite imagery, drones and social media are among the technologies risk managers can leverage to manage a loss, said Jennifer Reno, West Chester, Pennsylvania-based global risk manager for QVC Inc.
“We were able to use drones to look at the site itself to get an understanding of how far away the fire really was, looking at it from a bird’s eye view,” Reno said.
Drones were also deployed to watch the tops of 700 trailers parked at the site, many of which contained customer returns and were damaged by the fire, she said.
Heavy equipment assessors are not allowed to walk on top of a trailer, so getting an accurate record of the trailer’s structure and any fire damage via drone footage was helpful, she said.
Social media monitoring can help organizations reduce reputational risk when a major loss occurs, but it can also expose them to some risks, Reno said.
Communications staff initially reported on social media that all employees were safe and sound, but later learned they were misspoke, she said.
Through social media monitoring, they saw a post from a family member about a missing relative, prompting them to review how many employees and contractors were in the building at the time of the fire.