Where can smaller brokers and insurers start when it comes to AI?

It’s the biggest of tech buzzwords, but should all firms be jumping on the bandwagon?

Where can smaller brokers and insurers start when it comes to AI?


By Lucy Hook

AI and machine learning are big buzzwords today – but it can be difficult to know where to begin when it comes to harnessing the technology within your business.

Increases in computer power, greater investments in algorithms, and growth in the availability of data are democratising AI today and putting ‘supercomputing’ ability in the hands of businesses, according to Celent.

In a new report looking at the use of AI within the insurance sector, the firm found that new tools and the cloud mean more people than ever can create AI solutions, and insurers are leveraging this in their own projects.

“AI has been around for decades. But what’s happening at the minute is that there are a lot of useful things that are coming out of AI,” Craig Beattie, senior analyst at Celent, told Insurance Business.

Even just a few years ago, many AI tools were still used mostly in universities and required a comprehensive understanding of programming languages. Today, however, there are more opportunities for the ‘citizen’ data scientist – those without an extensive data science background.

While many large organisations today will have their own in-house AI teams, the opportunities for small and mid-sized firms have grown as machine learning and adaptive algorithms become easier to use and deploy.

“The great benefit for AI at the moment isn’t just in it giving you an insight and you saying, oh that’s interesting. It’s in automation. It’s in activities where a machine has an advantage over a human being and they can augment the process. Not necessarily replace the human, but certainly make the process better,” said Beattie.

For smaller insurers and brokers, there are some technologies that will be cheaper and easier to implement than AI and machine learning, and which could save weeks of man-hours per year, according to the analyst.

“If you’re on a digital journey or an automation journey, have a look at some of the cheaper, easier stuff right now… They are much more certain of a delivery, much easier to implement, and you need a lower level of understanding in order to implement those,” he said.

However, for those that are already further down the line, AI could offer some serious benefits in automation and cost-cutting.

“I’ve talked to multiple start-ups in the insurtech area who have said, if we hadn’t been able to use AI to automate this part of the process, we wouldn’t have been able to scale,” said Beattie.



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