When will machines take over insurance jobs?

Report predicts artificial intelligence will replace repetitive work

When will machines take over insurance jobs?


By Alicja Grzadkowska

A report on artificial intelligence and automation from Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty (AGCS) has made predictions about when and how machines will take over jobs.

“The potential substitution of many low- and middle-income jobs could bring extensive unemployment,” according to the “The Rise of Artificial Intelligence: Future Outlook and Emerging Risks.” As many as 600,000 construction jobs could be on the chopping block when they become automated by 2040, and repetitive positions like those held by postal clerks and travel agents might also become extinct.

The effects of AI on insurance are already visible, said Michael Bruch, head of emerging trends at AGCS.

“What you are seeing currently is that start-ups are trying to simplify the insurance business model by way of having chatbots, by having automated claims settlements,” he explained, adding that tech companies like Lemonade have already changed the game in how claims are processed.

“We are looking into sales and industrial sectors, and the claims sector, but also how the underwriter of the future will look. The good message is that we will substitute or replace very simple tasks, so typing in data into any systems – that can be easily automated – and we want to use more data, not only internal data, but external data, to make a faster and better adjustment or assessment of insured risks.”

The underwriter will not necessarily be replaced by artificial intelligence, Bruch told Insurance Business, but they will have to develop skills to work with the new technology.

“You can say then the future underwriter will be replaced by a machine, but I wouldn’t see that being the case. We need new expertise. An underwriter in 10 years’ time will most likely need different skillsets. We will free up time from boring tasks, but we can free up time then for more client interaction.”

Heads of insurers might also look different in the future because of advancements in technology, said Bruch. A background in IT instead of one in accounting or law might become the new standard for executives as companies implement more levels of automation and AI.

Some of the key takeaways from the Allianz report are that strong AI agents will appear on the market around 2040 and artificial intelligence will boost corporate profitability by 2035. Bruch said to be cautious when attaching concrete dates in predicting the future of AI.

“No-one can really foresee what’s going to happen,” he remarked. For a machine to replicate a human making coffee, for example, it would need to successfully enter a home, find a coffee machine and know which buttons to press. It sounds simple, but the technology still has a long way to go before it can mirror human behavior to that degree.

“It’s really this full spread of having not only learning processes in place with the machine, it’s about also experiencing consciousness and that makes it difficult to handle that, control that, monitor that on the insurance or risk side, and really to make that happen in the proper way,” he said.


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