Technology

How AI is taking over insurance claims (and why it’s a good thing)

Artificial intelligence (AI) has been disrupting the insurance sector by being able to recognise images of accidents and process accurately what damage has occurred – and how much it will potentially cost to fix.

Alex Dalyac, CEO at fintech AI firm Tractable, says: “The big breakthrough in recent years has been heavily focused around imagery. Today, you can train a computer to describe images more accurately than a human.”

For insurers, the area he sees AI currently having the most impact is in assessing road accidents. Minor collisions, for example, traditionally take a few weeks to settle, but AI technology can enable people to upload pictures of the damage to the insurer’s website, where it will automatically be processed by AI routines, which will provide a quote for how much the damage will cost to fix.

Dalyac’s team has been working with the Cambridge Machine Learning Group, the Visual Geometry Group at Oxford University as well as the Neuroscience unit at UCL, to analyses data sets in motor claims. In their research they have found that AI can now appraise car damage more accurately than the average human expert.

He says: “We are at a point where the tasks that the AI performs are at or above human performance. It can be used to automatically approve repairs that need to go to shops, cutting cycle times and preventing the back and forth between a body shop and an insurer where they disagree.

“The real end-game is to produce a full cost of repair from images as soon as they are submitted in order to enable instant settlement.”

The technology is still in its early days, but Dalyac sees many more uses for AI in property and casualty (P&C) insurance. Nearly all P&C claims are assessed visually whether it is a building, a home or a car and by using AI it can make the process simpler and more efficient.

“We are still in the process of learning more tasks, there are lots of exciting things to be done and a lot more tasks to learn,” he says. “Visual recognition is going to continue changing P&C insurance.”

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