Reinventing Crop Risk Insurance with Drones

Groupama Rhône-Alpes Auvergne Develops Crop Risk Insurance Program on top of DJI Drone Platforms

September 2017 – Leading French mutual insurance company, Groupama, started expanding its drone program to deliver more affordable crop risk insurance. Groupama group, which insures roughly 65% of France’s farmers, started testing drone platforms in June of 2016 in its Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes company: Groupama Rhône-Alpes Auvergne (Groupama RAA).

This July, Groupama RAA finalized development of a comprehensive drone program called exo.expert, which brings together DJI drone platforms, a custom-developed mobile application and an extensive training program provided by local drone service provider, Squadrone Systems.

Chief Innovation Officer at Groupama RAA, Philippe Vayssac, explains how Groupama’s interest in drones for crop risk insurance started, “at Groupama we offer farmers the security to develop their land by mutualizing risk against natural disasters and other potentially disastrous events. When our team first saw the new drone technology on the market, we did not see a cool new consumer product but instead a tool for Groupama experts to more accurately and quickly assess a claim, which would allow us to lower insurance claims for farmers.”

Early on in the teams’ assessment process, Groupama RAA decided to develop the program around DJI drones. Philippe Vayssac explains, “we quickly decided to use DJI drones for exo.expert due to DJI platforms being the most advanced and simple to operate drones on the market. Additionally, we could develop our own application on top of the DJI Mobile SDK, allowing our team to quickly build a powerful mobile application that gives Groupama experts valuable analytical tools while still in the field.”

Groupama RAA’s drone solution and iPad application, similarly named exo.expert, is able to plan and control automated mapping flights as well as generate maps from aerial images for further analysis by Groupama experts. The exo.expert application is able to generate these maps without internet connection so that on-site Groupama experts can conduct assessments on on a farmer’s field in minutes instead of days.

“Groupama customers are more than clients, they are members,” Philippe Vayssac says, “and our exo.expert program allows us to not only offer insurance at a better price but also to provide additional services that helps our members. With drone data Groupama experts can advise members on nitrogen needs, quality of land and more.”

When first introducing the exo.expert program internally, Philippe Vayssac heard some experts raise concerns about jobs being replaced. Philippe quickly explained, “this innovation does not replace jobs or skills. Instead, with DJI drones we have built an exoskeleton – as the name suggests – that provides Groupama experts with the data needed for them to provide accurate assessments and additional services. Overall the program will be better for Groupama, for our experts, for our farmers and for the agriculture industry as a whole.”

Groupama RAA has, as of September 2017, 21 trained and authorized experts using the exo.expert system. The company has immediate plans to train 29 more experts on using drones to assess agriculture claims.

“We have proven the ability of the exo.expert program to improve results on individual claims”, Philippe Vayssac states, “and now the team looks forward to scaling the program out across Groupama RAA, the larger Groupama organization and beyond.”

The exo.expert project has recently received recognition in the subject of FinTech from Finance Innovation, a French government organization that annually awards the most innovative projects and startups in the financial services sector.

exo.expert - Innovation

 

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