Rise of artificial
intelligence is no accident


​As one of the oldest industries in the world, insurance is also one of the most traditional. But like many businesses, the face of insurance is changing rapidly.


Rise of artificial  intelligence is no accident

Those changes are being driven by customer expectations for services to be faster, simpler and more convenient. For those who purchase motor insurance, they want to know that if they’re involved in an accident their insurer will be fast and responsive, and get their car back on the road sooner.

Suncorp receives more than half a million motor insurance claims every year. We know the enormous value of having the right solutions and systems in place to make the claims experience as quick and painless as possible.

So earlier this year, we set out to significantly transform the claims experience for our motor customers. We wanted to create a ‘zero-touch’ process, which gave customers the ability to make their claim online, quickly and simply, without even needing to speak to a consultant. 

With the support of IBM and the natural language capabilities of Watson – IBM’s artificial intelligence platform – customers can now lodge their claim online, receive the outcome, pay any excess, and choose their repairer – all within five minutes. Historically, this would have taken 24 to 48 hours.

We worked with IBM to design a system that could understand the complexities associated with determining liability and the conversational language customers use to describe a car accident. Now, when one of our AAMI, Suncorp, GIO or Bingle customers lodge their claim online, the system is smart enough to assess and process the customer’s claim in real time, as long as it meets certain approval criteria.

Since we implemented the system in June, Watson has been doing an excellent job. Claims are being finalised in as little as five minutes, with more than 90 per cent accuracy in determining claim liability. If the system can’t confidently work it out, the case is automatically referred to one of our consultants to pick up the conversation directly with the customer. This could be because the accident was complex or it may be the customer hasn’t provided enough information about the incident for Watson to analyse. 

Over time, the system will build its claims knowledge and become even more intuitive in analysing claims. The more claims it processes, the smarter it becomes. The zero-touch process gives drivers choice and provides a simple solution – at a time when they are probably still feeling frustrated or overwhelmed by the accident itself. Online experiences are faster, and it means our claims teams have more time to support those customers who prefer to talk things through over the phone. 

Harnessing the capabilities of artificial intelligence creates enormous opportunities to improve business capability and customer service. But it’s important to ensure customers have trust in the system and feel confident in having independence throughout the entire process. Rest assured Watson and its claims processing have been rigorously tested.

Technology is integral to so many parts of our lives and AI is playing an increasingly bigger role. The real advantages come when we can use this technology to make people’s lives simpler and more convenient, especially at the time of a car accident – when life feels anything but that.

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