FIVE WAYS AI HAS BEEN INTERWOVEN INTO THE INDUSTRY
Artificial intelligence is not going away and not embracing the technology is simply not a viable option
[T]hink of the amount of information
that must be packaged, unpackaged, repackaged,
and relayed between our insureds and carriers.
By Michael Wayne
Artist Jason Allen introduced controversy to this year’s Colorado State Fair. Allen won the fair’s Fine Art Show digital art category with his entry “Théâtre D’opéra Spatial,” a piece that depicts a stunning, other-worldly glimpse of elegant ladies in elaborate gold and sheer white gowns with their dance partners, twirling on floating rust-colored rock platforms. What appears to be a giant gas planet dominates the left third of the canvas, with a smaller planet interspersed between it and the waltzing couples. Countless stars in a black and nebulous slice of space make up the remainder of the backdrop.
So, what’s the controversy?
Allen’s work is ethereal—extremely delicate and light in a way that seems too perfect for this world. Therein lies the problem. Allen didn’t create the entry alone. He employed artificial intelligence, and a wave of backlash ensued. Colorado State Fair General Manager Scott Stoller reportedly remarked, “There’s a couple different ways we can go. We can embrace AI, so much so by creating its own category, or not embrace AI and have requirements that prohibit it. Those are conversations we want to have, and everything is on the table.”
While you may not have yet embraced AI, it has become an established part of our industry. In some instances, firms have largely built their business model with AI serving as a domineering part of their foundation. Such is the case with Lemonade, which has created a digital client journey for consumers who are used to being in that space. AI is being employed in other ways. Here are five you may not be aware of:
Bots instead of bodies
Having to hear a recorded voice on the phone prompt you to say something or push buttons is annoying. Waiting on an email response can be frustrating. Somewhere in the middle are chatbots. When bots are backed by top-flight AI though, a client can proceed through an entire purchasing process and, in some instances, navigate the claims process without ever having to speak to a person. That being said, most of our colleagues are far from being at the point where they are ready to entrust a bunch of algorithms alone and will rightly double-check the work of the bots through some method.
Predictive analytics help us identify trends for clients in various ways. AI is being used to identify something else: patterns. We are all concerned with fraud and detecting it is not necessarily something that humans are the best at doing, particularly when culprits are extremely good at what they do. In at least one case, AI technology has been used to process more than 77 million claims with a 75% accuracy rate for detecting fraudulent claims. As always, criminals will look to stay one step ahead. While humans in the industry will work to keep up, AI will self-train to see statistical “fingerprints” that are being left behind faster than humanly possible.
Eliminating opportunities for mistakes
A little-acknowledged issue in the insurance industry is our supply chain problem. While we don’t have product we need to get loaded across the Pacific Ocean and transported to be further disseminated, think of the amount of information that must be packaged, unpackaged, repackaged, and relayed between our insureds and carriers. Think of how many times that information needs to be transcribed and how many of our colleagues have an opportunity to get something wrong. AI is ensuring better data and a better client journey.
Reducing redlining and other issues
AI hasn’t reached Skynet self-awareness yet and is still largely a product of the humans directing the data it uses. If you’re unfamiliar with Skynet, stream Terminator. Unfortunately, redlining has been an issue for our industry in the past. Likewise, there have been issues regarding pricing and the paying out of claims. Proper attention must be paid to details when building necessary algorithms to make processes easier and fair so AI does not reinforce indiscretions of the past and unintentionally make them worse.
Claims to fame
Processing claims and helping insureds get through the claims process so they feel they’re made as whole as possible is a large part of what makes us who we are as insurance professionals. We also know that examining policies, understanding their every nuance, and marrying that with other data is a time-consuming, tedious process. AI can do a vast majority of the work, including examining photos and videos for conditions that meet policy requirements. From there, all that is needed is human verification of the work.
AI is not going away. With the dearth of employees in the insurance industry, the reality is that more and more duties are going to be relegated to AI “colleagues.” Unlike the Colorado State Fair, we are not in a position to deny AI entry into the field. Not embracing the technology is simply not a viable option.
Michael Wayne is a freelance insurance writer.