What should brokerages know about applying generative AI to their business?

CEO lifts lid on his organization's AI experience

What should brokerages know about applying generative AI to their business?


By Gia Snape

Generative artificial intelligence (AI) can have transformative impacts on insurance brokerages. One broker that has embraced the technology to enhance efficiency and minimize risks within its operations is now reaping the benefits.

Billyard Insurance Group (BIG) has been on a journey to harness the full potential of generative AI and robotic process automation, according to CEO Stephen Billyard (pictured).

Billyard is set to share practical insights into how generative AI can improve the customer experience, streamline operations, and give brokers a competitive edge during the Insurance Business Broker Summit this April in Toronto.

“We’ve been investing in all sorts of technologies to improve broker workflows and to drive more efficiency in the operation,” said Billyard.

Billyard Insurance Group’s generative AI discovery process

BIG has prided itself on being at the forefront of digital transformation in insurance. The brokerage’s core values revolve around leading the digital insurance revolution, prompting early investments in cutting-edge technologies.

Its initial use cases for generative AI involved simplifying data intake and verification of brokers’ quotes, according to Billyard.

“We used generative AI and robotic process automation to complete applications on behalf of brokers and to ensure that they were submitted properly, thereby improving loss ratios,” he said.

Each step of the brokerage’s operational workflow was scrutinized to determine whether AI or a bot could effectively replace human intervention, particularly in repetitive and error-prone tasks.

By segregating tasks based on their suitability for automation, Billyard’s team developed a process where technology complements human capabilities.

“We have found that we’re in a place now where it’s easier and faster than ever to develop these technologies. We got to a viable product that was going to transform our brokerage after six months of development,” said Billyard.

“We built something in a year that probably would have taken five years and five times the cost if we had done this 10 years ago, and now we’re excited about what the future holds as we continue to develop and take this technology to the next level.”

Tips for brokerages starting their generative AI journey

Ahead of the summit, Billyard revealed his top tips for fellow brokers considering their own generative AI journey:

  1. Start small, scale fast. Brokers should begin with targeted solutions addressing specific operational challenges, then gradually expand capabilities based on successes and insights gained.

The CEO also stressed the importance of taking feedback and reiterating the process quickly.

“Our brokers would use the bot, let us know where the mistakes are happening, and then we very quickly correct them so that the bot improved as time went on,” he said.

  1. Embrace creativity and exploration. Brokers should maintain a culture of innovation and curiosity, continuously exploring new possibilities for technology integration and optimization. Billyard said that BIG’s approach to generative AI and other technologies is based on continuous discovery.

“It started with us trying to solve a small workflow problem with technology. We were looking at robotic process automation to shorten the brokers’ workflow,” he said.

“But as we went down that journey, we realized the opportunities that generative AI, in concert with robotic process automation, could deliver.”

  1. Prioritize strategic investments. Finally, brokers should identify areas where technology can deliver the most significant impact on business outcomes, while directing human resources towards initiatives with higher returns.

“Our people are better when they’re serving their clients or when they’re underwriting risk,” said Billyard.

“They’re not better when they’re doing repetitive tasks where they can potentially make mistakes, where we can get the robot to do it perfectly and quickly every single time. So, it’s about separating the two elements - what our people do best and what technology does best.”

Interested in a deeper conversation about generative AI and its transformational impact for your brokerage? Join the discussion at the inaugural Insurance Business Broker Summit in Toronto on April 24, 2024.

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