AI steps up for insurance in 2019

By Riaan Bekker, Force Solutions Manager at thryve

 

If you catch a flight a decade from now, chances are very good that your trip will be flown by artificial intelligence. Even if there is a pilot, they’ll be aided by an AI assistant that monitors everything and reports problems if they occur, sometimes responding automatically.

 

AI is already a big part of air travel. Airbus’ AI analyses public data such as social media to test consumer waters. It’s also using AI to better plan assembly of its aircraft, predict changes in the supply chain and suggest remedies to reduce delays. Even its business units are increasingly putting AI to work, digging through troves of data generated by Airbus, its partners and customers.

 

Artificial intelligence is not a future technology – it’s happening now, growing every year with new use cases. In the people- and data-heavy world of insurance, AI is fast becoming a must-have. Even a chatbot that can support customers or help staff is still a type of artificial intelligence.

 

This technology is within reach of everyone.

 

Fifteen years ago, AI was expensive and primitive. Then engineers discovered that the vast amounts of Big Data could be used to train AI much faster and better. Around the same time, computing power became significantly cheaper and more available. Combine the two and a revolution was sparked. Now you can talk to Siri or Google Assistant to check the weather or capture a dictation.

 

AI is perfect for insurance

 

Insurance is a process-heavy endeavour that requires a lot of interaction between data and people. This has created a bureaucratic drag that is obvious when you consider how insurers compete: by trying to be faster than their peers. Offering a policy in a few minutes or settling a claim quickly have become the hallmark of newer insurers. But as the trend becomes a norm, insurers need newer ways to improve services.

 

Big data has been key to newer strategies. For example, tracking customers’ driving behaviour or fitness information lead to better personalising policies and services, not to mention awards programs. Yet the real gains in speed and efficiency emerge as big data is partnered with AI.

 

A new generation of insurance underwriters and brokers are being realised through these tools. Businesses such as Lemonade are the best known, but locally the likes of Pineapple and Naked Insurance are already challenging the status quo. They offer leaner business processes with reduced paperwork and much faster service times. AI and Big Data stand behind that dramatic transformation.

 

Anyone can AI

But insurance companies shouldn’t panic. Though it is not easy to create the full technology capacity that power those types of companies, getting started is less of an obstacle. By using digital platforms, insurers can start making use of AI and create their own data-driven businesses.

 

The platform concept might seem enigmatic, but it’s actually technology made easy for the rest of us. A platform represents a complete system of services that your business plugs into as it pleases. At thryve, we support Salesforce, one of the largest business services platforms globally and comparable to the likes of Microsoft. Salesforce is renowned for its powerful CRM service, but it has many others. AI is one, dubbed Salesforce Einstein, and can be seamlessly installed to the CRM or other areas of a business. This then helps with the smart delivery of customer information and leads predictions.

 

That same AI can be enlisted to work with other business processes and data. It could be made into a chatbot that helps support staff deal with queries, or customers with claims and onboarding. AI even helps make ‘touchless’ claims possible: claims that require no human intervention.

 

Imagine the time and money such efficiencies can save. Imagine the benefits that speed of service brings to your customers and consequently your brand.

AI is already around us: in our airplanes and our phones. Insurers and brokers who are defining the market also rely on AI to improve their operations in every way.

Fortunately, this technology is accessible to all, once they put the right digital platforms in place.

 

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