By: 8 January 2017
Japanese insurer to replace claims handlers with Artificial Intelligence created by IBM

A Japanese insurer is set to dismiss 34 claims handlers and replace them with an artificial intelligence system created by IBM.

The Guardian has reported that Fukoku Mutual Life Insurance believes that by using IBM’s Watson Explorer to handle claims it will be able to increase productivity by 30% and see a return on its investment in less than two years. The newspaper says Fukoku will save about 140 million yen (£1 million) a year after the 200 millio yen (£1.4 million) Watson Explorer system is installed this month. the insurer believes that maintaining it will cost in the region of 15 million yen (£100k) a year.

According to IBM Watson Explorer possesses “cognitive technology that can think like a human”, enabling it to “analyse and interpret all of your data, including unstructured text, images, audio and video”.

The technology will be able to read tens of thousands of medical certificates and factor in the length of hospital stays, medical histories and any surgical procedures before calculating payouts.

While the use of AI will drastically reduce the time needed to calculate Fukoku Mutual’s payouts – which The Guardian says totalled 132,000 during the current financial year – no claim will be paid unless it has been approved by a member of staff.

In December, here in the UK, Fletchers Solicitors was recognised for its work in claims technology by The Lawyer magazine.

The law firm recently received public funding from Innovate UK to back a research project with the University of Liverpool to explore and develop Artificial Intelligence innovations that will benefit law firms.

Fletchers, which has offices in Manchester and Southport, and specialises in clinical negligence and serious injury claims, was ranked by The Lawyer as one of the top ten law firms leading the market in various aspects of claims technology-related matters.