Brokers must assess company values before adopting AI, says expert

Published: August 13, 2019

Updated: September 1, 2019

Author: Luke Jones



Brokers and insurance companies are constantly being told that artificial intelligence (AI) will transform the industry. For company’s this impact will be positive as AI will automate tasks and make workflow more efficient. For low-level insurance workers, those automated tasks are likely to come directly in the form of their job rolls.

Brokers have numerous processes that can be automated or just improved by implementing AI elements, says Christopher Wynder, director of product marketing for capture and original equipment manufacturing at OpenText Corp.

However, he told Canadian Underwriter companies must weigh up their IT transformation and assess whether it the cost of automating these processes.

“To break it down and say ‘this is how many minutes, seconds that X takes to do, this is what’s involved,’ there is a fair amount of analysis involved in that,” said Wynder. “You have to talk to the people who are actually doing it, in a way that they don’t feel like they are going to get their hand slapped. If we don’t know what they actually do, we are never going to get it better.”

“We often don’t understand how much we spend on a process. So when we do this, there is a lot of, ‘Are we crazy? Do we actually spend this?’”

Brokers often see workflow blocks when multiple systems are needed to carry out a single data task.

“They may think the right answer is, ‘take the document from here, I press the button here and it just shows up in our processing system.’ They know that’s the answer you want to hear, but if that’s not what actually happens, and 99% of the time it isn’t, we need to know that.”

“It requires trust on both sides and that’s one of the main reasons these kinds of [automation] projects fail. No one wants to be automated out of a job, no one wants to give you the tools to automate them out of a job and no manager wants to be the bad guy who is automating their prized employees out of a job, so there are a number of soft skills in getting enough information about a process.”