High-res aerial imagery from hurricane damage publicly available

September 15th, 2017, Published in Articles: EE Publishers, Articles: PositionIT

The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) will make available to the public high-resolution aerial imagery of areas affected by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. By going to the link and typing in an address, a before-and-after comparison will be available if the property is in an affected area that has been surveyed from the air. Harvey damage is available and imagery from Irma will be posted when available.

The NICB, whose member companies write over 80% of all property/casualty insurance and over 90% of all auto insurance in the US, has been developing a system that leverages its ability to rapidly respond to catastrophes. The system utilises a full array of digital imagery, both on the ground and in the air, which will provide high-resolution views of properties on an address-by-address level to assess the damage.

The bureau and its partners now have the capability to gather before-and-after street level and aerial views of impacted areas, and provide that information in a platform that insurers can incorporate into their existing systems to quickly view and assess damage to their policyholders’ homes, businesses and even vehicles. This same imagery will be provided at no cost to emergency personnel to assist them in their response efforts. The information will also be invaluable in fighting fraud in the aftermath of a disaster.

NICB is working with partners such as Vexcel Imaging, a global aerial imaging company, and Esri, a global provider of GIS mapping and spatial analytics software. The bureau has created the Geospatial Intelligence Center to oversee these efforts. Eventually, the plan would be to do imaging on the ground and in the air in some 100 markets on a regular basis, and being able to respond immediately on a 24/7 basis when a catastrophe strikes to provide comparisons that will assist in damage assessment.

Rockport (Credit: NICB)

Rockport (Credit: NICB)

As a not-for-profit organisation NICB is dedicated to preventing, detecting and defeating insurance fraud and vehicle theft through data analytics, investigations, training, legislative advocacy and public awareness. It is supported by more than 1100 property and casualty insurance companies and self-insured organisations.

This has been made this possible due to NICB’s long history of a strong working relationship with emergency and law enforcement personnel. The Texas Department of Public Safety and other local and federal officials have supported this effort, and provided the bureau with access and support during the Harvey response.