USAA Accesses State-of-the-Art Imagery with Geospatial Intelligence Center Membership

The GIC provides the highest resolution aerial images available both before and after catastrophic events such as hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, hailstorms and wildfires.

(Image source: Example of pre- and post-disaster analysis imaging from GIC.)

USAA, the San Antonio-based, property/casualty insurer and financial services company serving serving more than 12.6 million active and former military members and their families, has joined the Geospatial Intelligence Center (GIC), an insurance industry consortium led by the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB; Des Plaines, Ill.). The GIC provides the highest resolution aerial images available both before and after catastrophic events such as hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, hailstorms and wildfires.

Elizabeth Gulick, VP, Catastrophe Experience, USAA.

By joining the GIC, USAA will have access to what the organization characterizes as the most advanced imaging and data available today to better serve its members with enhanced underwriting tools for policies and with fast response to their members impacted by a disaster. The NICB describes the GIC as combining the technical expertise of advanced digital aerial and terrestrial imaging company Vexcel Imaging (Graz, Austria/Denver, Colo.) and geospatial mapping tech company Esri’s (Redlands, Calif.) geographic information systems to provide the tools and analytics to help insurers make fast, accurate and cost-efficient decisions when writing a policy and when dealing with claims following a disaster.

Founded in 2017, the GIC has a stated committed to mapping the entire United States each year with high-resolution images and providing ultra-high-resolution images for the 100 largest metropolitan areas. That includes 45-degree oblique images that can be processed to allow a rotatable 3-D image of any property.

In the hours and days after a disaster, the GIC fleet of aircraft fly over the impacted areas to capture and assess damage to provide members with unprecedented images and data on impacted properties.

The NICB reports that, working with law enforcement and disaster scene commanders, it has provided the GIC with access to disaster areas as soon as it is safe to fly and the GIC is able to provide images and data to members within 24-36 hours of the aircraft touching down. The imagery is also provided free of charge to first responders and emergency personnel to allow them to better assess the extent of damages and to coordinate their response.

A Resource to Fight Fraudulent Claims

The information also services as a resource to provide valuable evidence to help the NICB fight fraudulent claims, which are a frequent problem after catastrophes, the organization says.

Joe Wehrle, president and CEO, NICB.

“The GIC provides the technology needed to accurately assess our member’s property when writing a policy and to provide a fast ground assessment of damage in the aftermath of a disaster,” comments Elizabeth Gulick, VP, catastrophe experience, USAA. “As longtime members of NICB, we recognize the value of working with emergency personnel and getting quick access to the disaster areas to better serve our members. Our mission is to look for organizations and technology which will get our members back on the road to recovery as quickly as possible.”

“As a retired military officer, I know the importance of providing our active military and veterans with the best service available, and USAA is further enhancing that commitment with the technology made possible by the GIC,” comments Joe Wehrle, president and CEO, NICB. “We are proud to have USAA as one of the original members of this industry consortium.”

Insurers Need to Unlock Value in Old, New Data Assets

Anthony R. O’Donnell // Anthony O'Donnell is Executive Editor of Insurance Innovation Reporter. For nearly two decades, he has been an observer and commentator on the use of information technology in the insurance industry, following industry trends and writing about the use of IT across all sectors of the insurance industry. He can be reached at [email protected] or (503) 936-2803.

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