Use of Drone Software Makes Crop Insurance Claim Process Faster and More Efficient

Crop damage valuations have traditionally been difficult to make and are often inaccurate. Typically, after an insurable event such as a flood, infestation or storm, the measurement of damage for a particular crop is carried out manually.

In recent times, Remote Sensing Data/Image capturing by satellites has caught the attention of large farmers, crop insurance companies and governments because it provides ‘farm–specific’ information on crop conditions and losses to farmers, and helps in providing the right kind of benefits to the right people. Growers and insurers are increasingly using drones as a tool to increase accuracy and shorten timelines for crop insurance claims.

 Pix4Dfields is an advanced agriculture mapping software developed by Pix4D, a drone mapping company. It digitizes fields by converting drone images into orthomosaics, digital surface models, index maps, zones and prescription maps, allowing maximization of operational efficiency.

The Workflow of Pix4Dfield

Image credit: Pix4D

The Workflow of Pix4Dfield

Image credit: Pix4D

Application area

Iowa, a state in Midwestern USA, has heavy rainfall and storms that lead to floods. Due to an improper drainage system, this large amount of water accumulation leads to crop damage.

On-farm storage is also lost during the storm. Additionally, it has been reported this year that approximately 8.2 million acres of corn and 5.6 million acres of soybeans in the agricultural fields of Iowa may have been impacted by the high winds.

Here, the insurer uses satellite imagery and drones to capture the images of the damaged fields. To level the damage area, the loss adjuster uses the index calculator tool in Pix4Dfields to create a custom index. Further, the Normalized Difference Vegetative Index (NDVI) tool is used to estimate bare soil.

Custom index created using index calculator and visualised with the color mode options | Image credit: Pix4D

Later on, by using the zonation tool in Pix4Dfields, the loss adjuster can quantify the results into acres and severity of damage.

Each zone has an associated level of loss category (for example, 100% damage for the orange zone and 85% damage for the lighter orange zone).

Quantifying Damage severity | Image credit: Pix4D

The comparison tool in Pix4Dfields gives more context and validates the loss adjuster’s findings. It also enables the loss adjuster to compare the same field before and after the damage via change detection technologies embedded in the software.

Comparing the zones of severity damage and affected areas in orthomosaics | Image credit: Pix4D

It’s important to have the right information at the right time in order to make accurate decisions. Drone data helps the insurance companies and agents to ensure that a farmer gets the required help on time and when in need.

With Drones and Satellite Imagery, Pix4D is Providing Solutions to Ease the Crop Insurance Process

Requirements for insurance companies

When large damaging storms occur, farmers need to file for damage within 72 hours to be eligible for coverage. The written notice of damage initiates a claim procedure and if necessary a third party insurance loss adjuster comes to the farm and inspects the loss, records measurements, and submits the claim. This is what ultimately helps decide if the farmer gets paid or not based on his/her insurable level.

The loss adjuster collects data of the damaged area using drones and creates a set of visuals based on which he/she can then assess the damage and create a PDF report for the farmer and the insurance companies with the findings. This makes the settlement process smooth and fast.

This case study was originally published by Pix4D (

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