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03 October 2018 3 min read

Self-driving cars are not the only things changing society… and insurance

Deb Mukherjee

Deb Mukherjee
Senior Manager - Financial services

Anyone who has ever bought a property in the UK will easily be able to connect three things together – Property, Law and Insurance; and also empathise with some of the pain points prevalent in these industries originating from archaic processes, strong affinity to voluminous documentation (often in paper) and an inertia to change.

What is less evident (and heartening for me as a tech enthusiast) is how technology, or more specifically AI, is transforming these industries and the collective impact this will have on the wider society in future.

At the Instech London event earlier this week there were mainstream propositions like AI-based analysis and data extraction from legal documents (Leverton) and  e-signatures (Signaturit) in property and legal processes.
Other emerging game changing offerings included:

  • Machines that can be trained to interpret natural language and extract data embedded in reams of documents to be able to answer structured human queries (Eigen Technologies). Done well this will benefit almost every industry sector where centuries of unstructured data locked into documents is hiding a wealth of insights
  • Electronic identification and verification solution for consumers on a global scale (Paycasso) which promises to take away the pains of submitting hardcopies of attested documents and shorten wait times
  • AI-driven automatic identification of legal risk in property transactions (Orbital Witness) giving property lawyers a level of insight they have never had before
  • IoT and machine learning-based risk identification and prevention solutions for commercial properties (Shepherd), enabling commercial insurers transition to the risk prevention regime

Reflecting on the above I have two key thoughts:

  1. Societal impact - It is hard to overstate the impact of a transparent, efficient and accessible legal, insurance and real estate sector for a better society. Therefore, I would like to see more public/ government participation in development and adoption of these propositions. Given the highly regulated nature of these sectors government sponsorship through funding and forward thinking policy making will go a long way in enabling the transformation
  2. Insurer response – Like self-driving cars, innovations in the property and legal sectors are more a ‘when’ question than ‘if’. Therefore, insurers need to start thinking about the associated opportunities these will present e.g. can commercial insurers plug into the IoT offerings from companies like Shepherd to improve their underwriting profit, can a more effective and efficient legal information exchange improve claims experience, can insurers start working in an ecosystem with lawyers, vehicle manufacturers, estate dealers, hospitals etc. to help manage risks better etc.
If these aren’t enough to get you dreaming of a better future already, fathom the possibility of being able to predict (and possibly influence ?) the outcome of court judgements using AI (CourtQuant). Now that does really change the game… although I am yet to see the response from the Bar Council or Legal Ombudsman to this disruption.