While it'll be awhile before we all have an IBM Watson Supercomputer on our desks, there are a number of artificial intelligence business tools that property and casualty insurers and insurance professionals can use right now to run smarter, faster — and ahead of the competition.
"The emergence of AI coupled with big data and massive computing power has enabled us to take a different view of our processes," says Justin Tomczak, CFA, media relations, State Farm. Consider, he added, the “thousands of photos of damage that we receive every day become an amazing set of data for AI to learn from and to serve our customer’s more effectively and efficiently. "
Jeremiah Bentley, vice president, marketing and customer engagement, Texas Mutual agrees that AI has the power to transform insurance. "We think the greatest potential in the use of artificial intelligence tools in the industry is the opportunity to improve the customer experience, and by extension, the overall impression that the consumer has about the insurance industry," he says.
Great customer engagement, adds Kevin Kelley, divisional senior vice president, Great American Insurance Group, is what separates today’s disrupters from disrupted in insurance.
"The innovators behind disruptors in the insurance industry are using digital technology, data analytics, artificial intelligence and machine learning to produce a better, faster, and more efficient customer experience," Kelley says.
Essentially, these next generation AI wonders tap into the technology's ability to do a lot of the thinking and strategizing for insurers and agents.
Keep reading for a sampling of what the future of insurance business software may look like for insurers.
There's an app for that, even if you're a small independent insurance agency. (Photo: iStock)
No. 5: AI app makers
Insurance professionals who want to start dabbling in artificial intelligence right now — for free — might look to such open-source software products as Datumbox. Targeted to businesses with one or more programmers on staff — or an extremely brave PC power-user — Datum is an AI platform that enables the user to design and build their own AI apps from scratch.
Some of the specific tools you can create with Datumbox include:
AI Sentiment Analyzers: These tools enable you to unleash an app on the Web, social media and similar digital locations that will see what people are saying about your company and/or products and services — and also determine if the sentiments behind those posts are positive, negative or neutral.
AI Text Readability Analysis: This tool can be used to ensure the marketing copy for your insurance business is extremely accessible — or conversely, appeals to a more discriminating audience.
AI Gender Analysis: Whether its soaring praise or withering criticism, this tool will enable you to determine whose behind posts about your company — a man or a woman.
One of AI's notable characteristics is its ability to retrieve data from all corners of the Web and then package it in easy-to-understand, graphic dashboards. (Photo: iStock)
No. 4: AI dashboard maker
Qlik enables your insurance business to develop AI dashboards that can monitor dozens, hundreds — or even thousands — of web sites and/or web properties across cyberspace, and then bring back all that data for instant analysis.
With Qlik, you'll be able to compare and contrast the performance of all your Web sites in terms of clicks, visits, purchases, successful calls-to-action, and more. Plus, the software promises to bring back associations and insights you may not have thought to consider. Similar products include Metric Insights and Tableau.
It no longer takes an IT expert to design an online presence for your insurance business. (Photo: iStock)
No. 3: AI self-designing websites
Grim fact: Not all of us are Da Vinci's in the making.
Fortunately, with Grid — an online service that will auto-design a web site for your insurance business — that doesn't matter anymore.
This tools allows users to simply upload the content you want on your web site — text, images and video — and the service does the rest, placing everything just where it's supposed to go. Once all your components are in place, you also have the ability to tweak the resulting design. You can get an in-depth look at how Grid works with its introductory video (56 minutes) on YouTube. Wix offers a similar online service.
"The innovators behind disruptors in the insurance industry are using digital technology, data analytics, artificial intelligence and machine learning to produce a better, faster, and more efficient customer experience," says Kevin Kelley, divisional senior vice president, Great American Insurance Group. (Photo: iStock)
No. 2: AI call center matchmaker
Designed to find 'birds-of-a-feather' personality matches between your call center reps and your customers, Affiniti processes more than one billion calculations-a-second in its never-ending quest to sniff out the personality of anyone who happens to be calling your business.
Essentially, the AI software works by retrieving, storing and analyzing psychographic and demographic data on customers across the U.S., which it sources from the world's identity data brokers, including Allant, Axciom, Experian, Facebook, LinkedIn and Targus.
Specific data Affiniti is incessantly gobbling up includes income level, credit card usage, profession, gender, telecommunication usage patterns, responsiveness to marketing, political persuasion and travel habits.
Most likely, it also knows if your toenails need trimming.
Meanwhile, Affiniti analyzes the other side of the equation — the personalities of the call center reps at your insurance business — by studying how your reps interact with customers over a 60-90 day period, and by crunching data from a 20-minute survey that you can administer to your call center reps when they're first hired.
The result: In a perfect world, you get a match made in bits-and-bytes heaven that hopefully will result in a better customer service experience and perhaps heavier sales.
Now your legal team has the power to scope out potential lawsuits before they happen. (Photo: iStock)
No. 1: AI early warning lawsuit alerts
When it comes to lawsuits, the only thing better than an attorney who strikes sheer terror in the opposition is one who can scope-out potential lawsuits before they happen — and steer you clear of any trouble.
That's the premise behind Intraspexion, ingenious lawsuit-prevention software developed by seasoned attorney Nick Brestoff.
Intraspexion works by relentlessly analyzing every single email your employees send or receive from the outside world, and then studying those emails for telltale signs of trouble ahead.
As soon as it finds an email it believes could be the start of an impending lawsuit, it instantly alerts your attorney or in-house counsel, requesting human intervention.
According to the company's founder, Nick Brestoff, Intraspexion's accuracy had been verified by a third party source at 99%.
Interestingly, Intraspexion is built on Google TensorFlow — a free, open source, deep learning software developed by researchers and engineers on the Google Brain Team.
"TensorFlow is quickly becoming a viable option for companies interested in deploying deep learning," says Rajat Monga, engineering leader, TensorFlow at Google.
Currently, Brestoff's software — which is being pilot-tested by a New York Stock Exchange level company — is only programmed to analyze employee emails for potential employee discrimination suits, simply because those suits are among the most common.
But Brestoff says he can easily rework his code for insurers to do the same kind of monitoring for breach-of-contact suits, fraud suits and more than 150 other categories of lawsuits that businesses must dodge every day.
Many insurers see other types of AI tools ahead that will ultimately be integrated into industry operations. (Photo: iStock)
Other AI tools on the horizon
"There are a variety of potential use cases that span improved customer service; risk, price, fraud, demand modeling; improved underwriting practices; identifying behavioral insights and driving optimized segmentation," says Tim Cunningham, CIO, Grange Insurance. "The capabilities exist today and the barriers to experiment and learn continue to diminish."
John Tramonti, AVP, product implementation, MetLife Auto & Home, agrees: "Artificial intelligence — specifically cognitive technologies — has the potential to redefine both how we interact with consumers and support our workforce."
Concludes Bill Bloom, executive vice president, Operations, Technology & Data, The Hartford on the coming Age of AI: "In the near-term, robotics and natural language processing offer the greatest opportunities within service operations and claims, but it’s clear that the value will soon be felt in areas such as underwriting, actuarial and finance.
"The vendor landscape for these tools is broad and evolving rapidly. Therefore, we’ve architected our solutions to allow us to swap software providers over time as the market changes. "
Adds Luyang Fu, vice president, predictive analytics, The Cincinnati Insurance Company: "My impression is that property casualty insurers are working to integrate these AI tools into smaller projects first, and building up to full integration. Artificial intelligence tools will be an essential part of many operations, but it will take time."