Betterview applies AI to aerial imagery to help insurers with property inspections.
Betterview is an evolution of co-founder Dave Tobias’s previous property inspection business. Dave had previously struggled with roof inspections: “We tried everything including cameras attached to poles. With the rise of drones over the last few years, their application to property inspection was obvious.”
Betterview was founded in 2014. It initially provided (re)insurers with images of buildings taken by drones (operated by its own fleet of pilots). However, it quickly became clear that what clients really valued was the “so what”, and this now forms the core of the Betterview proposition. The business applies its own AI algorithms to images from satellites, manned aircraft and drones (taken by both its own drone pilot network and third party providers) to identify construction and damage features. The platform can currently recognise 87 types of roof issue (e.g. hail damage).
The business has two main propositions for insurers:
- Individual inspections: Clients can request data about properties that they are underwriting or where they have claims; Betterview flies a drone over the property to gather the data and its algorithms extract the data.
- Portfolio reviews: Clients can submit a file of addresses for which they require data; Betterview uses images from multiple data sources (e.g. satellite image databases) and again extracts data with its algorithms.
The Oxbow Partners view
When Betterview launched they had to build their own network of pilots to gather data (currently this network numbers 5,000). The drone market is maturing quickly and companies are separating into those collecting the images and those analysing them. For example, Dronebase (Bitesize) has built a platform to access drone pilots and give them missions.
Image collection is becoming the commodity end of the market, and for insurers the differentiating activity is going to be the image analysis. Put another way, if there was once a trend called “drones”, it’s now a trend called “image analytics”; drones just deliver the raw materials.
Betterview’s proposition appears to be resonating with investors and (re)insurers. The business has raised $3.6m in pre-Series A funding and works with over 100 US-based carriers, including Munich Re America with whom theyannounced a strategic partnership last week.
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