There are so many areas of the sector that are ripe for automation, machine learning and artificial intelligence that it’s hard to know where to start. However, in the session at Intelligent Insurer’s upcoming Commercial Lines Innovation Europe Virtual Event (October 11-13), titled “Combine digital-first and data extraction strategies to drive collaboration and add value”, Expert.ai’s head of sales and sector strategies, Pamela Negosanti, will argue that unstructured documents are ripe for innovation.
She will be debating this point with Lloyd’s Market engagement and adoption lead, Hélène Stanway, as another school of thought would ask, is it not better to digitise processes from the start?
Negosanti will explore this question, as well as other topics including how to prioritise processes that require digitisation, what technologies are likely to bring the most value and how the landscape is going to look in five years’ time. Could the industry be at a digitisation tipping point?
Why is digitisation such a hot topic at the moment?
More than 80 percent of documents in the industry are unstructured. A lot of time is dedicated to reading documents and extracting information. Many processes like this make up the heart of the industry. You have senior people and subject matter experts performing seemingly low-value activities.
This is an area with huge potential for improvement. Technology will not just help streamline the process and introduce cost savings, it also offers better customer experience. You can
reply more quickly to customers, retain them and address new segments of the market, particularly the digital natives.
There are two arguments here. One we have already mentioned: using technology to automate part of the process with natural language understanding to extract data so people invest less time. The second argument is, why don’t we just make everything digital from the start? Claims will be done a certain way so we don’t need extra processes in place post-claim to extract the information.
This is the discussion I’ll be having with Stanway because it’s a provocative idea. The two approaches are completely different but have the potential to be complementary. In essence, you can’t make everything digital-first because it takes an extremely long time to achieve, and you can’t stop the creation of unstructured documents because as soon as a human customer enters the process, communication automatically introduces unstructured information.
We’ll be challenging those positions and looking to define the optimal balance between the two.
“We’re going to have to work out how to communicate that the sector is a vibrant, exciting place to be.”
You’re looking at the most effective way to introduce technology. How should companies think about their priorities?
Priorities are determined by the pain points they want to resolve. There is a whole range of different potential objectives. Some may be focused on cost savings, others are exploring avenues for further growth. The two aren’t mutually exclusive but resources are finite, hence prioritisation.
A digital-from-start philosophy might be better for a growth strategy because you can then try new channels, detached from legacy processes. It will allow you to collaborate with insurtech or choose to distribute through a different channel from normal. This speeds up digitisation in one area at least because you’re not having to redefine existing processes which can prove extremely slow and expensive.
The vendor market is so fragmented. How can companies understand which technology will serve them best?
The technology landscape is undoubtedly complicated. Artificial intelligence is particularly difficult to navigate, simply because it’s become so hyped and so broad in terms of the techniques vendors are using.
There’s an enormous gap in technology education in the industry overall, although big progress has been made. Ten years ago we didn’t have anything like the number of data scientists or chief data officers we do today, and things continue to change fast. These functions are educating the business and the C-suite on how to navigate that technology landscape.
Are you expecting some fundamental changes in the insurance sector?
A lot of external variables are exerting their influence on carriers, brokers and reinsurers. There were nine initial public offerings in insurtech in the last year alone. They are disrupting the market and will definitely represent tough competition for incumbents. People will be a game-changer. The differences between available technology solutions will get smaller and it will be talent that makes the difference.
We already know how difficult it can be for insurance to attract talent and we’re going to have to work out how to communicate that the sector is a vibrant, exciting place to be. This, among many others, is going to be one of the external pressures that will accelerate change across the whole industry.
Pamela Negosanti, Expert.ai’s head of sales and sector strategies, will be speaking at Intelligent Insurer’s upcoming Commercial Lines Innovation Europe Virtual Event (October 11-13) on a session titled “Combine digital-first and data extraction strategies to drive collaboration and add value”.
The event is free for insurers and brokers, and you can register here
Expert.ai, Lloyd's Market, Technology, AI, Machine Learning, Insurance, Reinsurance, Pamela Negosanti, Hélène Stanway, Global