By Nina Edward
American Geographical Society (AGS) had the opportunity to sit down with Ben Tuttle, CTO of Arturo, to discuss the ways in which artificial intelligence and aerial imagery are advancing the insurance industry. Tuttle calls Arturo a “clandestine geospatial” company that derives property insights and predictive analysis from high-resolution aerial imagery and unique proprietary data sources to empower insurance companies to assess property risks. Ultimately, Arturo’s vision is to create the greatest understanding of physical places and spaces to enrich lives. The work of Arturo shows the great ways in which geography is adaptable and can be applied within a variety of industries to improve outcomes.
After getting its start in Research and Development at American Family Insurance, the Arturo team realized that the data gained from satellite and aerial imagery could significantly move the needle in efficiently assessing property risk. As a result, in May 2019, Arturo stood on its own two feet as a company, aiming to use geospatial data and technology to address the insurance industry’s biggest challenges. Since then, Arturo has developed to analyze an average residential property in less than ten seconds.
While other companies tend to use only one type of imagery source, Arturo uses the most current and extensive multi-source global imagery in the market and continues to seek the most advanced imaging or remote sensing companies to create valuable real-time property information. Aerial imagery provides timestamps and a current analysis, but can also provide before and after imagery to assess damage, for example, from natural disasters, hurricanes, etc. Currently, Arturo is used by insurance providers, allowing them to give their customers the best insurance based on the most accurate data available, but they plan on expanding into other businesses that engage with the built environment, including banks, other financial institutions, asset managers and the real estate ecosystem.
Historically, obtaining the property information that insurance carriers needed meant an analyst would sit in front of a computer and manually collect that data. With the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Arturo’s technology, what once took 3-5 hours now takes seconds. This makes a difference in insurance decision-making, and the faster that accurate data is gathered, the better insurance companies are able to help customers confront risks.
When asked about the future of the industry, Tuttle emphasized the importance of “old-fashioned human work.” None of the work AI does replaces analysts, but rather will allow them to do what they were always meant to do: work in ways a computer cannot. With Arturo’s innovative technology, analysts are able to focus on the areas where only the human brain can make decisions and figure out whether computer-derived results matter or judge the severity of risks. This technology allows insurance companies to work more proactively than ever before and from a current timescale.
Another interesting change within the imagery world that Tuttle mentioned is that stratospheric weather balloons, from companies such as Nearspace Labs and Urban Sky (partners of Arturo), are beginning to expand their scope for aerial imagery use. This development will give aerial imagery the broad scope of satellite data with the elevation of an airplane, but at a fraction of the cost. The scale at which aerial imagery is being produced is getting more and more intricate as technology advances, allowing insurance companies to access data more up to date than ever before.
Geospatial data has always been important to the insurance industry, but it has never
been applied like it has with Arturo. Learn more about Arturo and their work by visiting their
AGS is very grateful to have Arturo as one of our Corporate Angels since 2020.
Tuttle recently participated in a panel at our GeoConvergence Summit this past May. You can watch the panel here, it starts at 3:54:40.