Where does the European insurance industry stand in terms of advanced analytics, AI and automation? Do we see that traditional methods of data analysis are now being labeled by the term "machine learning"? Maybe the industry is more advanced than that: Are real chatbots, for example, already ubiquitous? Let's have a closer look. I had the opportunity to visit the "Insurance AI and Analytics Europe" conference in London.
Historically, when new technologies become easier to use, they transform industries. That's what's happening with artificial intelligence and big data; as the barriers to implementation disappear (cost, computing power, etc.), more and more industries will put the technologies into use, and more and more startups will appear with new ideas of how to disrupt the status quo with these technologies. By my predictions, the AI revolution isn't coming, it's already here, and we'll see it first in a few key sectors. Most people agree that healthcare is broken, and many startups believe that the biggest answer is putting the power back in the hands of the patient. We're all carrying the equivalent of Star Trek's tricorder around in our pockets (or an early version, at any rate) and smartphones and other smart devices will continue to advance and integrate with AI and big data to allow individuals to self-diagnose.
Artificial intelligence, Machine Learning, and Deep Learning are more than futuristic concepts. These technologies are impacting the insurance industry in a significant way right now and this impact is likely to increase in the near future. The idea of Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), and Deep Learning (DL) may fascinate consumers who enjoy talking to their digital while admiring a Nest thermostat. But for the insurance industry, these terms are business-changers that affect products and services offered and interactions with consumers and other industry partners. The definitions of these terms may be a bit confusing to the uninitiated (see sidebar).
In the fall of 2016, Oliver Buechse, a Green Bay-based strategy consultant, attended a conference in Silicon Valley with a focus on disruption in the financial industry. Interacting with the artificial intelligence and fintech community, Buechse noticed something different about the discussions there. Concepts like artificial intelligence and machine learning weren't theoretical, far-off possibilities, but rather present realities. AI, clearly, had already arrived on the West Coast. "All of California was abuzz about AI," Buechse said.
Data is now being mined from a variety of sources that can help insurers build a fuller picture of their customers. Machine learning algorithms can analyze this wealth of information quickly and accurately, without being tainted by human bias, and help to offer more accurate prices. In health insurance, for example, data from wearable devices such as Fitbit can track a customer's activity, while analysis of their social media may give a more accurate idea of somebody's lifestyle choices than they are willing to share. This will likely punish those who are unhealthier than they say, but it will also reward those who live healthier lifestyles.
In the coming few years, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is going to take over on many of the current jobs. As per this PwC report, more than 30% of jobs in US, UK, and Germany are at high risk of automation. Some of these jobs may disappear within a few years while some can still be around for decades. In this article, we will highlight only those ones that can be automated soon. According to HBR, AI may soon replace even the most elite consultants.
Vitality, a UK-based health and life insurer, offers'Vitality points' for consumers who are willing to track and share their daily activities, including walking, running, cycling, swimming or going to the gym. This can be done in a variety of ways, including fitness trackers and health check-ups. An example of this may be someone identified as having a genetic disorder, where no preventative measures could have been taken, being given a large life insurance quote to reflect the uncertainty around the treatment and risk factors. This could reduce profitability for insurers and further undermine the risk pool, pushing up premiums for the higher- risk consumers that remained.
Building on the idea of the AI guaranteeing your personal loan, your insurance company will also be transformed by artificial intelligence and big data. Another big change AI could see ushered in is autonomous cars. In addition, it's likely that auto ownership in general would decline; people would no longer buy cars, but buy 24/7 access to a car. In this case, the auto insurance industry loses millions of customers, with only a few large corporations that rent the cars to insure.
Online life insurance agency Haven Life announced an upgrade to its service earlier this week that could let you buy a life insurance policy in just a few minutes after answering about 30 questions -- possibly with no medical checkup. While fully owned by traditonal life insurance company MassMutual, Haven Life is very much living on the frontier of machine learning. It's a life of constant rethinking and adaptation, and it requires a new way of conducting business, where the speed of AI advancements dictate the speed of business decisions. "We've gotten to the point where we can ask follow-up questions while the client is still online in the application process based on prescription drug data we're pulling in in real time," said Rodgers.
The Trump administration officially issued a new rule Friday that weakens the Affordable Care Act's mandate requiring employers to provide free birth control as part of health insurance plans. To do so, they had to file paperwork with the government indicating their objection, in turn triggering separate contraceptive coverage for employees provided directly by the insurance company. The Trump administration's new rule expands this exemption, allowing virtually any organization, not just a religious one, to opt out of the mandate if they feel contraception coverage violates their religious beliefs or "moral convictions"--a much broader (and murkier) standard than before. But by eliminating the requirement that objecting groups inform the government when they opt out of birth control coverage, it's possible Trump's new rule will provide a defacto end to this litigation.