AI to take larger role in insurance, says major insurer

Market’s first robo-teller service heralds AI revolution in the insurance industry, according to executive

AI to take larger role in insurance, says major insurer

Insurance News

By Gabriel Olano

Artificial intelligence (AI) is a fast-growing presence in the global financial sector, and South Korea is no exception as its insurance industry will soon get its first AI-based customer support agent.
AIA Korea and technology firm SK C&C have signed an agreement to introduce AI technology in the insurer’s call centres.
The AIA ON robo-teller service, which will begin operations next year, will be the first of its kind in South Korea’s insurance industry, said the insurer. In the early stages of its implementation, human employees will supervise the system to ensure its smooth operation.
Several insurers have introduced chatbots that automatically respond to consumer queries, but AIA said that its robo-teller will be the first one to manage the entire sales process automatically using AI.
“We are preparing for a procedural change in our business,” Dale Kim, AIA Korea’s chief technology and operations officer, told the Korea Times. “In the next five years, AI will take centre stage in many businesses, just like computers did in the past, and adopting the technology will be a matter of survival.”
Kim said that AI will be especially important in three domains of insurance: customer service, claims, and underwriting. While AI is becoming common in the first domain he said that the technology will soon expand to the two other fields, which are the core of the insurer’s operations.
“The strengths of AI are efficiency and cost saving,” Kim added. “About 20 years ago, insurance companies did underwriting manually, and now everything runs through computers and the process of insurance has become so much faster.”
Kim also recognised concerns regarding AI potentially depriving humans of employment, but he believes that technology will play more of a complementary role.
“While insurance companies are striving to build an omni-channel for customer services, they can’t keep their call centres or other services that need a human touch operating 24 hours, because of costs,” he explained. “This is where AI is coming in and why the technology is not necessarily replacing humans.”
AIA will have a transition period to find the correct balance between human- and AI-based services, said Kim, and AIA has no plans to lay off any of its call centre employees in the near future.

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