Innovation can come from the most unexpected of places and perhaps the last place you would expect digital innovation within the insurance sector to develop is a law firm. And yet, with the launch of its separate technology-driven arm, Kennedys IQ, global insurance law firm Kennedys has placed itself among the most transformative digital companies impacting the development of the insurance sector today.
Speaking with Insurance Business, partner and head of the innovations group at Kennedys and board director of Kennedys IQ, Richard West (pictured above), outlined how the unveiling of Kennedys IQ, which combines human and machine intelligence to offer clients ‘Kennedys, without the lawyers’, has been a natural next step in producing innovative software for clients.
The journey started 10 years ago with Kennedys’ virtual lawyer, KLAiM, which, West said, is essentially the great grandfather of this latest innovation offered by the company. It has come to fruition from Kennedys’ ambition of ensuring that lawyers are only used in the insurance sector when strictly necessary.
Kennedys IQ is a standalone corporate structure, West said, and will be offering one product – the Kennedys IQ platform. The reasoning behind keeping the Kennedys brand identity intact was due to the symbiotic relationship between the two separate businesses, he outlined, as Kennedys’ pedigree and hard-won level of consumer trust will allow Kennedys IQ to gain significantly more traction than a technology business without that brand equity could possess. Conversely, he said, Kennedys IQ will allow the continued evolution of Kennedys’ reputation and standing as a highly innovative law firm.
The product toolkit initially developed by Kennedys consisted of five distinct software tools none of which spoke to each other and all of which existed in isolation, West said.
“[Kennedys IQ] is a platform which integrates human knowledge and intellect with machine learning to produce six smart tools,” he said. “Each one of these tools is currently being used by insurers around the world, they are not incubating, they are already established.”
Karim Derrick, (pictured immediately above) who has recently moved from Kennedys’ head of R&D to product and innovation director at Kennedys IQ, detailed this platform has built on the work Kennedys has been doing for a number of years and has expanded tools from their initially narrow focus.
“What we recognised,” he said, “is that the core competencies that we’ve built into the technologies, which are around data capture, analytics and machine learning and text analytics, and also workflow, had broader applications within client organisations, both within legal processes but also different jurisdictions as well.”
This new platform brings together all these competencies in a way which can be configured to meet the particular needs of Kennedys’ individual clients, most of whom are within the insurance industry, he said, and all of whom have common challenges but unique variations in their needs.
“They’re all on a different stage of their data and technology journey,” Derrick said, “and what this platform does is allow us to configure the tools and attempt to meet these needs.”
The six smart tools of Kennedys IQ platform allow its clients to automate or manage the day-to-day claims process, Derrick said, and are designed to cover the entire claims journey. Its Incident Manager creates an immediate picture with real-time incident support. The Portal Manager allows the user to get a clear outline of their active MoJ portal claims, while the Fraud Detector uses live data to highlight and prevent fraudulent claims. The Defence Lawyer tool allows clients to manage the early stages of litigation without the use of a lawyer and the Settlements Negotiator is designed to help resolve disputes online, quickly, confidentially, and at a lower cost. Finally, the Recovery Manager allows the user to recover losses effectively and quickly.
West outlined how each of these tools is aimed at helping insurers save money and helping them to use lawyers less. While this might seem a counterintuitive offering for Kennedys, Derrick noted the shifting requirements of modern clients who expect more than standard legal advice. He detailed the significance of Kennedys IQ in helping its customers to explore potential new types of business as the risk environment changes around them, due to new technologies and the influence of factors such as the climate.
“We’re looking at how we can explore that potential and that, of course, involves us better understanding our clients’ businesses,” Derrick said, “but it’s not just about technical products, it is also about consultancy and… solving problems within businesses.”
Mike Gilpin (pictured immediately above), who was formerly director of IT at Kennedys has now moved over to become Kennedys IQ’s commercial director, and he outlined that there are a number of reasons why this step is taking place now. Kennedys products exist because of its clients, he said, and the more the business works with these clients, the more it understands their particular businesses challenges, which has helped to evolve the platform. It was noted, he said, that though clients greatly appreciated the digital innovation being offered by Kennedys, they were often uncomfortable buying software products from a law firm.
“Some of the clients were saying ‘how do we know you’re going to continue seeing this as a valuable proposition to support a law firm?’,” Gilpin said, “So, establishing Kennedys IQ is, in part, about saying to our clients – ‘we’re here for the long term, and we’re investing in creating a stable, successful and independently profitable business in order to provide you with the right software solutions.’”