Donna Scully featured in Modern Insurance Magazine

01 April 2020

Q.  Where does human knowledge fit into the future of the claims process? Will it become immaterial?


From everything we read or hear, it does sometimes appear as if we are on the path to making humans largely redundant from the claims process, except for those gifted technical wizards who will programme and keep the machines running.


Artificial intelligence will fundamentally change all our lives. In the insurance market, AI will be utilised for better customer service and improved chatbots, data crunching to improve risk assessments and quotations and auditing to reduce claims in the first place. From FNOL systems with the ability to download telematics data/dashcam footage to metadata used to identify incident information such as GPS coordinates, AI is rapidly becoming a core element of the market. We are all going to be using voice analysis for automated fraud checking, as well as speech recognition for identification and DPA checks.


Before we completely write off us poor human beings, it is worth considering the differences between machine and human intelligence. Quantum computing and deep learning may be at the forefront of scientific development, but it is all a relatively basic principle: if you can break down a task into data, machines using AI will be able to learn it.


The problems come when you ask the machines to think in the abstract, by applying common sense or transferring knowledge gleaned from one area to another. Self-driving cars are still struggling to replicate human experience of driving despite having driven tens of millions of miles. Machines may win at processing vast amounts of data, but humans are vastly superior in making informed, abstract decisions based on instinct, common sense and little information. They each function completely differently and so should complement one another rather than one cancelling out the other.


Frictionless claims made digitally and with fewer human checks will pose a major challenge. With the digitisation of fraud in the new claims process systems, aided by undue political haste and a lack of forethought in their conception, humans must still have a central role. Technology-based solutions will play a major role in combatting fraud and enhancing the customer experience, but the thinking human being will still be needed to provide common sense checks, empathy, expertise and knowledge.


Donna Scully, Director