Canadian Underwriter

4 ways AI can improve your performance

October 25, 2018   by Jason Contant

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Artificial intelligence can be used to better predict weather risk in insurance, such as which customers’ properties may be more affected by severe weather, an Accenture executive said Thursday.

One of the four major benefits of AI is enhanced judgement, or “the ability to do a better job of predicting anything, really, risk being one of the most obvious examples,” said Jodie Wallis, managing director for artificial intelligence in Canada with Accenture.

She used the example of U.S. insurer Liberty Mutual, which developed an app that uses weather data and customer data to predict exactly which of its customers’ properties might be affected by a major weather event, such as a hurricane or tornado. “It can do a much better job of getting ahead of things like, ‘OK, we’re going to have a spike in the need for adjusters, so let’s engage some outside help to do that.’” Or help with short-term housing or food needs, Wallis added.

“Can we do a better job of predicting risk?” she asked of AI. It can help reduce certain exposures by getting a better level of accuracy in terms of how insurance companies price and how they insure.

Another benefit of AI in insurance is around natural language processing. A subset of AI, it can be used for customer service or even engaging with an insurer’s own employees. Through the use of virtual assistants or conversational platforms, there is some early evidence that insurance companies can do a better job of, for example, providing advice to clients about which type of insurance to get into or helping them make sense of billing or claims questions.

A third benefit is intelligent automation. The claims process could use certain types of AI, such as computer vision or video analytics, to improve claims processing efficiency. Consider using AI to use a picture of a damaged car to kick off the claims process. “It doesn’t require somebody to go out and investigate,” Wallis said. “It doesn’t require the customer to take the car somewhere they weren’t planning to go in the first place and it doesn’t require somebody to translate what they see into some sort of report. The photo can immediately be translated into the case data itself and the optimizes the efficiency of the process.”

The final benefit revolves around fraud protection. “AI models do a great job in any type of anomaly detection, and fraud is obviously a big one.”

Wallis provided her comments two days after Accenture launched the second season of its podcast series The AI Effect. The seven-episode season, which includes an episode on insurance, went live Oct. 23. Wallis and technology journalist Amber Mac hosted the series, which includes interviews with AI industry leaders on how Canada can solve adoption challenges in key industries and reap the benefits of AI.

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