Earth Imaging Journal: Remote Sensing, Satellite Images, Satellite Imagery
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September 21, 2020
GIC Collects Wildfire Imagery Across The Western U.S.

DES PLAINES, Ill. - As wildfires continue to rage across the western United States, the Geospatial Insurance Consortium (GIC) is flying aircraft over impacted areas to collect high-resolution aerial images and data of damaged structures. The GIC enables a property-by-property view of recent Western wildfire devastation.

The GIC has rapidly responded by collecting wildfire imagery in OregonCaliforniaWashington, and Montana, giving insurers the ability to search for addresses to view before and after aerial images of impacted properties. Imagery is collected as weather and smoke conditions permit then processed and available to GIC members within 24 hours of collection. If your organization needs access to GIC imagery, email info@geointel.org.

Current GIC post-catastrophe wildfire imagery includes:

  • Alameda Drive-Glendower-Obenchain Fires in Jackson County, Oregon
  • Bear-North Complex in Butte County, California
  • Creek Fire in Fresno and Madera Counties, California
  • Bridger Foothills in Gallatin County, Montana
  • Babb Fire in Whitman County, Washington

The GIC continues to monitor conditions and collect in key areas, including several other large fires in Oregon and California. The GIC also prioritizes future imagery collections based on ongoing feedback from GIC members and government stakeholders.

Geospatial images from the GIC help provide insurers with vital information to better respond to and settle claims faster while mitigating potential fraud. In addition, this imagery is provided at no cost to emergency personnel, first responders, and law enforcement to assist in their response to the damage.

"With devastating wildfires like these, damage assessment is crucial to expedite the recovery process. We know that post-disaster, high-resolution aerial imagery can speed up the recovery process allowing claims processing to proceed faster as well as obtain benchmark information to prevent fraud for our GIC members," said Richard Butgereit, Director of Catastrophe Response, GIC. 

In areas like Malden, Washington, officials estimate as many as 80% of structures have been destroyed, including critical infrastructure. "This imagery can assist with long-term recovery or inform a distressed home or business owner that their property is still standing," Butgereit added.

"Technological advances have improved in recent years, providing insurers with critical tools to enhance fraud detection and expedite fraud investigations. The GIC is just another example of how the industry is leveraging innovation to help fight fraud in the wake of a disaster like this one," said NICB's Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Timothy Slater.

"Following any major disaster, we unfortunately see scammers swoop in to take advantage of homeowners promising a quick fix. In some cases, it's the homeowner who might want a new roof and attempt to scam the insurance company. Regardless, it's a problem and we must as an industry continue to develop innovative crime fighting solutions to stop this from happening," added Slater.

This imagery and data can be used for real-time collaboration between teams -- both on the ground and from remote offices – to make better, faster decisions on behalf of their customers. Earlier in 2020, the GIC renamed itself to Geospatial Insurance Consortium from the Geospatial Intelligence Center.

LEARN MORE

To learn more about recent aerial imagery at the GIC, visit go.gic.org.

Anyone with information concerning insurance fraud or vehicle theft can report it anonymously by calling toll-free 800.TEL.NICB (800.835.6422) or submitting a form on our website.

ABOUT GIC: The Geospatial Insurance Consortium (GIC) is an initiative by the National Insurance Crime Bureau Board (NICB). As a not-for-profit, member-led organization, GIC is trusted by the NICB and participating companies to consistently offer the most accurate highest-caliber, and timely "Blue Sky" (high- and ultra-high resolution imagery from across the United States) and "Gray Sky" (natural disasters and catastrophe) geospatial aerial imagery and data. To learn more visit gic.org.

REPORT FRAUD: Anyone with information concerning insurance fraud or vehicle theft can report it anonymously by calling toll-free 800.TEL.NICB (800.835.6422)or submitting a form on our website.

ABOUT THE NATIONAL INSURANCE CRIME BUREAU: Headquartered in Des Plaines, Ill., the NICB is the nation's leading not-for-profit organization exclusively dedicated to preventing, detecting and defeating insurance fraud and vehicle theft through data analytics, investigations, learning and development, government affairs and public affairs. The NICB is supported by more than 1,400 property and casualty insurance companies and self-insured organizations. NICB member companies wrote more than $526 billion in insurance premiums in 2019, or more than 82% of the nation's property-casualty insurance. That includes more than 95% ($241 billion) of the nation's personal auto insurance. To learn more visit www.nicb.org.

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