The next big bet for AI? Selling humans insurance
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is quickly permeating all manner of previously ‘human only’ industries. The most recent – and, potentially, most dramatic – is the insurance industry. A new survey by management consultants Accenture Plc. suggests that within three years, most of the people you talk to in an effort to get insurance will be artificial.
Around 66% of insurers already have some AI ‘virtual assistants’ on their books, and according to the survey, 85% of executives plan to “invest significantly” in the technology. John Cusano, global head of Accenture’s insurance practice, told Bloomberg in a telephone interview:
“It’s coming pretty quickly. One of the first services to be managed differently will be routine inquiries about the status of claims or bills, which in the past have been handled by call centers. In the U.S., major insurers such as Allstate and Geico have already launched virtual assistants. As Google, Apple, Samsung and Amazon push virtual-assisstance products, it will help spread their use in the industry.”
The push towards more automation in the insurance industry is gaining pace thanks to a combination of price pressure and incredibly low interest rates. By 2020, Tata Consultancy Services predicts that insurance companies will spend, on average, $90 million on the technology. Yet, Tata says insurers won’t be the only people eager to replace people with programs. Telecommunications companies will spend on average $131 million, high tech industries will spend $119 million, and bankers will spend $99 million.
Cusano said: “There’s an opportunity to add AI to the back-end transaction systems. This will create a need to clean up older and less flexible technology and will give startups the advantage of being able to build that from scratch. The real value of automation is to take care of routine tasks, freeing up employees to deal with more complex issues. While its going to change the way work is done at insurers and their agents, it’s debatable whether this will lead to a smaller workforce.”
Dominion holds Alphabet, the parent company of Google, as well as Amazon, in its Global Trends Ecommerce Fund.
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