Implementing artificial intelligence in the insurance industry: Cass breakfast briefing

Cass event addresses implementation, benefits and challenges of AI in insurance

How is artificial intelligence (AI) affecting the insurance industry and what should insurance providers consider before implementing this technology? These were just two points of discussion during the ‘Artificial Intelligence and Insurance: Managing Risks and Igniting Innovation’ breakfast event held at Cass Business School.

Professor of Strategy and Founding Director of the Digital Leadership Research Centre, Gianvito Lanzolla was joined by technology and insurance professionals to explore the feasibility of digitisation on the industry, as well as looking at how and when AI should be implemented.

The event was introduced and chaired by Darren Munday, Partner at Internal Consulting Group (Global) and Visiting Fellow at the Digital Leadership Research Centre.

Professor Lanzolla presented his joint research (carried out with Cass research student Lei Fang and Reader in Actuarial Science, Dr Andreas Tsanakas) about the impact of digitisation on management attention in the banking and insurance industries – highlighting the ambivalent consequences of digitisation. On the one hand there could be scope for increased coordination, but this potentially comes at the expense of increasing ‘group thinking’ and systemic risk.

four men sit alongside eachother in thought

Santiago Restrepo, Director at global professional services consultancy BDO UK LLP, then spoke about how businesses should make the case for using AI. This includes assessing market needs, company objectives and potential scalability of the technology.

Founder and CEO of data insights provider Digital Fineprint, Bo-Erik Abrahamsson demonstrated the importance of data, and how raw data mining could be transformed into useful insights for insurance companies.

Paul Willoughby, Head of IT Strategy, Innovation and Architecture at insurance provider Beazley, then stressed the importance of only using AI where it was critically required and would “make the boat move faster” – citing the example of anonymous chat bots as a piece of technology that does not necessarily deliver satisfactory insights or levels of customer service.

The session concluded with a Q&A session from audience members.

Reflecting on the discussion, Professor Lanzolla said:

“Artificial Intelligence can have many and clear advantages for industries that are heavily reliant on data, such as insurance, but there are also considerations that need to be made before implementing technology."

“Common considerations should include the implications of AI-related ‘black boxing’, fault lines between new digital skills and legacy skills, loss of emotional engagement with an organisation and risks for organisational stability when turbocharging some areas of an organisation with AI while leaving others lagging behind.”

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