Drones Show Up for Work in the Aftermath of the Santa Rosa Wildfires

Insurance estimators turn to drones to fast-track property inspections and help communities rebuild in the wake of Northern California wildfires

Mar 30, 2018 · 5 min read
The Coffey Park subdivision of Santa Rosa was one of the hardest hit neighborhoods with at least 1,300 homes destroyed during the wildfire.
Thomas Koester, President at Accurate Estimates Inc.

Drones Streamline Inspections and Improve Forensic Estimation

Accurate Estimates specializes in forensic estimation. Thomas and his team have the difficult job of capturing detailed information about a property before it’s destroyed. Then they use that data to create a precise reconstruction cost estimate for insurance providers.

Accurate Estimates leverages DroneDeploy’s built-in measurement and annotation tools to to measure property features safely. Explore the map.
Accurate Estimates uses drone-generated 3D models to generate insights and safely catalog damage to properties during the estimation process. Explore the model.

“With DroneDeploy, not only we can measure the foundation, but we can then create a 3D model, explore the topography of a lot, and measure property features like fencelines and pools — all from the safety of our office.”

Aerial Data Collection Makes Property Inspections Safer and More Efficient

Accurate Estimates is no stranger to disaster. With more than 30 years experience estimating damage for insurance companies, the team has seen it all. Fires, floods, earthquakes, you name it. But this is the first year the company is using drones as part of the estimation process.

“DroneDeploy has increased our bottom line by more than 20%,” says Thomas. “We’re seeing a substantial increase in client bookings as a result of the efficiency of 3D aerial mapping.”

An overhead view of a Santa Rosa neighborhood where Accurate Estimates was hired to inspect multiple properties to assess damage and costs of rebuilding.

“Not only is DroneDeploy a practical solution, but it’s also a safety tool for us as well.” — Thomas Koester, President at Accurate Estimates Inc.

With drones, he and his team no longer have to climb roofs, comb through rubble, or expose themselves to dangerous materials when inspecting a site. They just drive to the property, fire up DroneDeploy, and let the drone do its job.

The Future of Drones in Property Inspection and Estimation

Today, drones are being used post-disaster to help estimators, but Thomas is looking to change that. He sees drones playing an even larger role in the claims process down the road.

“If some unfortunate event happens, they will be miles ahead and able to prove claims with the insurer thanks to precise, as-built plans so they can put their life back together again,” Says Thomas

For now, he’s thrilled about the way drones have changed his work and is happy to play a small role in helping victims of disaster rebuild their lives.

Where to Learn More

Get Started with DroneDeploy

Visit www.dronedeploy.com to start your free trial or request a consultation with one of our team members. The DroneDeploy mobile application is available for free download for both iOS and Android devices.

DroneDeploy's Blog

DroneDeploy is the leading cloud software platform for commercial drones. Learn more at www.dronedeploy.com


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DroneDeploy is the leading cloud software platform for commercial drones.

DroneDeploy's Blog

DroneDeploy is the leading cloud software platform for commercial drones. Learn more at www.dronedeploy.com