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Insurance companies use drones, manned planes and high-altitude balloons to spy on homes and deny coverage: report

Home insurance companies are increasingly using aerial photography from drones and high-altitude balloons as a tool to scrap properties deemed high-risk, the report said.

Angry homeowners report losing coverage after being told they had damaged roof shingles, debris in their backyards, and undeclared items such as pools and trampolines. . The Wall Street Journal reported.

“Across the U.S., we’re seeing a dramatic increase in consumer reports of insurance companies dropping their policies because of aerial photos,” said Amy Buck, executive director of United Policyholders, a consumer advocacy group. ” he told the Journal.

No home is safe from surveillance.

The Geospatial Insurance Consortium, an industry-funded group that performs aerial surveillance missions, announced it had photographed 99 percent of U.S. homes.

Homeowners insurance companies are reportedly using aerial surveillance images taken by drones to exclude customers from insurance policies. Ruslan Ivansov – Stock.adobe.com

One of the homes belonged to Cindy Picos, a Northern California resident from Auburn who said her coverage was terminated last month after her insurance company took an aerial photo of her roof.

The insurance company told Picos that the roof had “reached the end of its lifespan,” but she told the Journal that she recently hired an independent inspector who said the roof would be good for another 10 years.

The insurance company reportedly refused to reconsider. She also rejected Mr Picos’ request to see the photos in question, a decision she criticized as “completely wrong”.

As natural disasters such as wildfires drive up insurance premiums in the state, seven of the top 12 home insurers, including Farmers Insurance, State Farm and Allstate, can’t afford to take on new customers. compensation is suspended or limited. .

Last month, State Farm announced it would discontinue coverage for 30,000 California homes and 42,000 commercial properties.

Insured homeowners report that their insurance companies use images taken by drones and other aircraft to point out problems with their roofs. christian.bitzas – Stock.adobe.com

Meanwhile, home and auto insurance companies continue to report solid profits, helped by sharp rate increases.

According to the report, homeowners insurance premiums in the U.S. rose an average of 21% from May 2022 to May 2023. Research by online insurance marketplace Policygenius.

This exceeded a staggering 12% increase over the previous year.

Homeowners insurance premiums are skyrocketing, making coverage difficult to obtain nationwide. Alison – Stock.adobe.com

Nicole Brink, a Michigan resident, quit her job at Farmers last year after the company used aerial photography to woo customers, the Journal reported.

“They seem to use any excuse to keep people away from books,” Brink said.

She said farmers would send a cease-and-desist notice if they discovered someone had installed a trampoline on their property.

According to the newspaper, customers also decreased when moss was found on the side of a villa.

The terminated customer complained that some of the aerial photos taken of the roof were two to three years old. Alexander Simonov – Stock.adobe.com

Brink claimed that Farmers used images from two to three years ago to make these decisions. Brink said one customer was denied coverage because of the roof, even though it was brand new.

She told the Journal that her home was alerted because a tree branch was hanging over the barn.

For Brink, it was the last straw when she changed jobs with an insurance company.

The newspaper asked farmers for comment.

A company spokesperson told the Journal that the insurer regularly inspects images of insured properties, and if issues are flagged, customers must fix them within 60 days.

with post wire