A megayacht is seen stationary at sea, with an overlay of a globe and lines signifying communication

Technology enables surveys during COVID-19 pandemic, promises benefits beyond

InsightsMay 13, 2020

“Agile” is a core value at Norwegian Hull Club – the ability to assess conditions promptly and react optimally. Sometimes, having an agile approach to clients’ needs and common challenges can bring unforeseen benefits, in addition to those originally intended.

This has been the case with two recent developments in Norwegian Hull Club’s survey offerings: the introduction of Survey Without Attendance and – most significantly - Remote Survey.

Survey Without Attendance is conducted without a surveyor on board during the damage and / or repair period. The surveyor will, instead, use retrospective information and documentation supplied by the owner / client, such as reports, photographs and videos, etc. in order to compile a survey report.

A Remote Survey, however - through the use of technology - enables a surveyor, no matter their location, to examine the damage in real time via live streaming. The surveyor is also able to request different views of the damage / damage area, surrounding areas, etc., in addition to relevant documentation / information, files etc. in order to compile their survey report.

Survey reports are crucial for proper claims handling and adjusting, as well as owners getting their rightful compensation, in a timely manner. The COVID-19 pandemic has not, of course, reduced the urgency of such reports – it has instead highlighted the need for agile ways of working to solve emerging common challenges. As a result, Norwegian Hull Club has entered into a collaboration with Librestream, suppliers of technology and systems that enable workers to ‘inspect, diagnose and maintain assets anywhere in the world’.

Several Remote Survey operations have already been conducted utilising Librestream’s technology. Added to this, the forthcoming "Survey" platform developed by Norwegian Hull Club’s subsidiary, Instech Solutions, will promote superior communication and overview of a claim between the claims handler, owners / brokers and the surveyor – boosting Remote Survey performance further still.

With COVID-19 changing the way many industries perform their daily business, the benefits and opportunities presented by Survey Without Attendance and Remote Survey have become truly apparent – in fact, with widespread travel restrictions in effect in many parts of the world, as well as distancing rules, lockdowns with home-officing etc., they may be the sole practical solutions for effective, timely surveys.

Despite today’s COVID-19 situation, Remote Survey has in fact been on Norwegian Hull Club’s radar since at least 2011, when it formed part of the agenda during The Club’s popular Surveyors’ Day that year. Norwegian Hull Club has long considered the widespread implementation of such a surveying approach as inevitable. The Club believed then – and continues to do so both during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond - that Remote Surveys would deliver several core benefits:

• Enabling owners to share the damage situation with The Club shortly after an occurrence, meaning we can provide the assured with superior service even more quickly

• If the damage occurs at sea, utilising the time prior to the arrival in port to arrange for the survey; appointing the “right” surveyor, possibly specialist attendance etc. if required, or to consider the need for an attending surveyor only for a later stage

• Opportunity to link a local surveyor with a specialist for remote assistance if needed in challenging or significant cases

• Enabling a greater level of flexibility for follow-up surveys in significant and/or long-lasting cases, either by the appointed survey company, or by Norwegian Hull Club's technical department, when they/The Club are involved. A combination of both attendance and follow-up by Remote Survey may be valuable and efficient for all parties: owners, the survey company and Norwegian Hull Club.

• Well suited for smaller claims, particularly appropriate Yacht cases

• Reduced time and cost for travelling

• Reduced travel (sustainability)

The above benefits still apply but now - nearly a decade later and with the current pandemic – the true potential of Remote Survey and Survey Without Attendance is clear. When travel may simply not be possible, there is a real and practical need for such forms of surveying. At the same time, technology has matured to truly enable first-rate, reliable surveying without the need for a surveyor to be physically on board. Technology and experience have combined to create surveying techniques that compromise neither safety nor quality.

‘Expect more’
The Club has long realised the importance of harnessing technology to better address the challenges facing our clients and members, not only today but tomorrow and beyond. Through such technology and methods, The Club can deliver further on its ‘Expect more’ promise, supporting owners and surveyors alike, as well as crews – particularly in such times as we face now.

'Highly effective'
Steinar Sivertsen, head of Norwegian Hull Club’s Technical Department, said: “We believe that Remote Surveying in particular is very much a tool with long-term, future appeal. Its value, the benefits it offers, go well beyond the current pandemic. There is also a significant sustainability element to these surveying techniques. Yet, despite the fact that a surveyor does not have to necessarily be on board, we are still relying on their expert insights, knowledge and experience. Until travel restrictions are rescinded, Remote Survey and Survey Without Attendance could prove highly effective in keeping work coming in for surveyors.

“As with any new technique we will, of course, learn from our experiences as we move forward, constantly refining the surveys to better serve the needs of our clients.”