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Using Data for Disaster Preparedness

How can data and analytics be utilized to manage risks to properties such as crime, vandalism, and emergency preparedness? This and many related questions were answered by experts during a DS News webinar titled "Risky Business: Using Data and Analytics to Protect Properties," presented by Safeguard Properties.

The webinar was moderated by Tim Rath, AVP, Business Development for Safeguard Properties, and featured insights from Jason Heckman, AVP, Mobile and Analytics for Safeguard Properties and John Thibaudeau, Director, Single-Family Real Estate for Fannie Mae into how technology is helping property preservation companies to identify cost-effective and timely solutions to protect and preserve homes.

During the webinar, Thibaudeau said that technology had made great strides to assist with property preservation, repairs, and marketing. He spoke about the tools and apps that are helping Fannie Mae get real-time information for properties that need inspection. They are also used to guide inspectors and users on what to look for once they reach the property and help Fannie Mae to absorb all the appraisal data to prioritize their work.

Discussing how data and technology go hand-in-hand for home repairs, Thibaudeau said that one of the key challenges companies face is ensuring consistency.

Speaking about the evolution of technology in property preservation, Heckman said that the data being used in property preservation at present helped companies understand the story that each house had to tell. He said that the evolution of data was also helping to "proactively manage anything that can go wrong."

While buying and implementing such technology can be a costly affair, Heckman pointed out that the benefits of these systems far outweighed the cost in terms of better targeting of potential issues and managing risks that include the prevention of services to the wrong property.

Answering a question on how servicing technology had changed today compared with what it used to be, Thibadeau said, "It is exciting to see how fast things continue to change. Today, speed is of the essence when you're moving to new technology to keep an advantage." Additionally, he said that technology continued to move on mobile solutions. "At the end of the day, we would love to provide technology to our customers where they can do business with us from anywhere."

"The introduction of iPhone really changed what we could do in terms of collecting data and getting things in real time. The improvement from where it was when we started in the mid-2000s to where we are now, has greatly changed the capabilities of what's available and what we can actually do," Heckman said.

Speaking about the type of technology that is being developed to address exceptions to vendor feedback, Heckman explained that it really went back to mobile technology and the aggregation of data. "We have capabilities to not only use scripts and text but also video capabilities which allow us to tell that story in real time," he said.

Looking at future technologies that were likely to advance property preservation procedures, both Thibadeau and Heckman concluded that artificial intelligence (AI) was the way forward. "The more interesting thing we’re seeing today is around AI and using machine learning to automate processes," Thibadeau said. "It’s going to continue to evolve over the coming years."

Heckman added, "With the advent of AI, and the Big Data movement the way data is being stored is changing and will continue to evolve as AI models improve."

Click here to view a recording of the webinar.

The topic of how the industry should prepare for and respond to disasters will be explored thoroughly at the upcoming Five Star Disaster Preparedness Symposium, to be hosted June 5-6, 2019, at the Hotel Monteleone in New Orleans. The Symposium is designed to provide an opportunity for mortgage industry leaders and executives to engage in critical conversations on diligence and preparedness, so the next time natural disaster strikes, the industry will be ready to lend the proper support. You can register for the Disaster Preparedness Symposium here.

About Author: Radhika Ojha

Radhika Ojha is an independent writer and editor. A former Online Editor and currently a reporter for MReport, she is a graduate of the University of Pune, India, where she received her B.A. in Commerce with a concentration in Accounting and Marketing and an M.A. in Mass Communication. Upon completion of her master’s degree, Ojha worked at a national English daily publication in India (The Indian Express) where she was a staff writer in the cultural and arts features section. Ojha also worked as Principal Correspondent at HT Media Ltd and at Honeywell as an executive in corporate communications. She and her husband currently reside in Houston, Texas.
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