July 19, 2019 by Greg Meckbach
Artificial intelligence is going to have a big impact on adjusters, actuaries and insurance agents, but it won’t necessarily kill their jobs, an AI expert suggests. But lower-skilled jobs may be in jeopardy.
“Jobs at call centres are going to disappear slowly with chatbots,” predicts Eli Fathi, co-founder and CEO of Ottawa-based MindBridge Analytics Inc., which makes financial analysis products that use AI.
Fathi is a recently-announced finalist in EY Canada’s Entrepreneur Of The Year award program. Ernst & Young released the list of its Ontario finalists July 10; it plans to announce the winners at a gala this October.
In an interview with Canadian Underwriter, Fathi talked about which segments of insurance were threatened by AI, and which were not.
One application of machine learning is natural language processing. Some brokers are using natural language processing to make chatbots, which can take queries from consumers over their websites. Venture capital firms have invested more than $1 billion in companies that develop chatbots, Fathi said Wednesday. “There is a lot of success with [chatbots] in all industries, not only the insurance industry and there will be a lot more development over the next two or three years.”
Fathi believes insurance professionals with a high level of skill – adjusters, actuaries and brokers, for example – “are going to become more powerful” as a result of AI. This is because they will start to use AI to deliver better advice and customer service.
Adjusters, actuaries and agents will likely use AI to make better decisions, Fathi told Canadian Underwriter Wednesday.
Overall, AI will affect the insurance industry in both a positive and negative way, he said.
“Startups are going to nibble at the low-hanging fruit – offering more customizable products and that is obviously going to take away jobs,” said Fathi. On the other hand, AI can be used to help detect fraud.
AI is when computers can “mimic human cognition and activities,” such as identifying patterns, Mark Breading, a partner with Boston-based Strategy Meets Action, wrote in a paper. Machine learning is a subset of artificial intelligence, where software performs certain functions without being explicitly programmed to do so, software vendor SAS Institute reports.