As many industries prepare for the day where artificial intelligence makes their long-established roles and functions obsolete, insurers are right there with them.
That isn't anything new. Robots have been a regular topic of conversation among those professionals for quite some time now. It's just that the conversation is starting to evolve beyond what it was previously thought to be.
"Up until now the focus has been mainly on the automation of admin-heavy processes, but academic research shows the potential of AI to replace high-level actuarial, underwriting, pricing, and claims roles," said law firm DAC Beachcroft's head of insurance, Helen Faulkner.
Her firm just released a report titled Insurance Market Conditions & Trends 17/18, which tackles topics related to robot use and artificial intelligence in the insurance industry from a number of different angles, in addition to many other subjects of note.
The idea that AI could impact customer-facing roles on top of administrative ones is certainly an uncomfortable one for industry professionals. Back in January, the consultancy firm Accenture found in a study that seven in 10 clients would take insurance advice from robots. Only five in 10 Canadians were on board with that proposition, but the figure is sure to rise as technology seeps further into our lives.
Still, Faulkner and many of her colleagues are able to maintain a certain level of optimism with regard to the situation.
"Insurtech is not something to be afraid of but rather an evolution offering us all the opportunity to work together and find the best way to effect significant changes that will benefit brokers, underwriters, and customers alike," she said. "We will see a new generation of data scientists, some of whom will also have actuarial and underwriting skills, emerge as key roles."