Canadian insurance companies at the forefront of AI adoption

Brokers play an important role in the increasingly widespread use of technology, says tech expert

Canadian insurance companies at the forefront of AI adoption

Insurance News

By Alicja Grzadkowska

Artificial intelligence solutions targeting the insurance industry are growing in number, and Canadian insurance companies are getting recognition for adopting this technology into their business processes. In fact, one expert says Canadian insurance companies are actually leading the charge in utilizing AI-driven technology and advanced analytics, and brokers are to thank for this increasing implementation.

“Because of the higher penetration of brokers in the insurance ecosystem in Canada versus the US or other parts of the world, that does change the adoption and use of artificial intelligence solutions because brokers, by definition, are the closest of all the market segments to the customer,” said Stephen Applebaum, managing partner of the Insurance Solutions Group. “The brokerage industry has quickly learned the value of AI in everything from marketing to customer service delivery.”

The availability of AI-based solutions isn’t just increasing – it’s exploded in recent years, added Applebaum.

“What’s changed the most in three years is we’ve moved from headlines and a lot of hype and promotion to practicality and implementation,” he said. “That’s pretty amazing in a traditionally conservative, slow-moving industry for any technology to see adoption that rapidly.”

Insurance carriers, including Aviva Canada, The Co-operators and Crawford & Company, are especially standing out for their innovative AI track records, and part of their success is a focus on the consumer.

“What they’re doing right is number one, focusing any AI solutions or any AI programs on opportunities to quickly improve customer service excellence and customer-centricity because that’s the watch word of the industry today. Everybody has come to understand that this is about the customer, not about the products,” said Applebaum. “If you look at the AI programs – which really span everything from the frontend of the enterprise all the way to the backend – they all have a customer-centricity or a customer service excellence theme or strategy or objective to them.”

An example of a backend AI solution used at the insurer level that has that customer focus is the leveraging of the technology to identify claims that warrant quick resolution, little investigation and prompt payment, and coupling that with electronic payments, which helps to drive down the length of claims cycles, explained Applebaum.

Before jumping headfirst into AI and analytics, brokerages, carriers and MGAs should know that there’s no going back.

“Whenever you raise the bar on service delivery, you permanently raise the bar, which is to say that your customers come to expect that higher level of service to be table stakes, and now you have to constantly do better because the expectation is for better. To that extent, the industry is constantly trying to play catch up to customer expectations,” said Applebaum, adding that the competition isn’t just other insurance companies. “These consumers that we’re talking about – that’s you and I and everybody else who buys insurance – we are also consumers of other products and services from other industries, like banking and retail. We’re almost all Amazon customers and so our expectations of service delivery are based on the highest level that we know, not the lowest level.”

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