Hiscox is using generative AI to transform underwriting processes

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Hiscox has become the first firm in the London Market insurance industry to create an AI-enhanced lead underwriting model, saying it dramatically improves speed and efficiency.

Hiscox will combine its recently-built technology platform, Hiscox AI Laboratories (Hailo), with Google Cloud’s generative AI technology to automate the lead underwriting process from submission to quote.

As part of the tie up, Hiscox will leverage Google Cloud’s BigQuery and Vertex AI platform to extract key data and insights from email submissions. 

The insurance giant said this will enable underwriting teams to generate a quote in just three minutes - compared with up to three days when using current manual processes.

Kate Markham, CEO of Hiscox London Market said the project delivered marked performance and efficiency improvements so far, highlighting the transformative potential of generative AI in streamlining processes for the insurance giant.

"This early-stage work suggests that there are areas of the business where automation can support better, faster results for our brokers and clients, and we look forward to developing the programme further,” she said.

"We are delighted to be working with Google Cloud to explore the applications of AI technology to augment our underwriting teams’ knowledge and expertise.”

The initial trial of the technology was carried out in the company's Sabotage and Terrorism division, although Hiscox said the principles will apply to other areas within and beyond big-ticket insurance.

Markham said this area of the business was specifically chosen due to the fact it involves a "considerable amount of manual data extraction and analysis", which places significant strain on staff. 

By equipping staff with generative AI tools, the insurer hopes to reduce pressure placed on staff while still maintaining human involvement in the process. 

“Human insight is and will always be a crucial part of the specialist underwriting process, but when expertise is paired with cutting-edge AI technology we will be able to serve our customers even more effectively and efficiently - not only in this specific line of business but in many others over time too, and this is an incredibly exciting prospect," Markham explained. 

"AI technology, deployed in the right way, has the potential to remove manual tasks from our specialist underwriters, freeing them up to focus on more complex risks where human expertise and analysis are a must."

Hiscox isn’t the only insurer dabbling in AI

Many insurers are already exploring the applications of generative AI. Allianz, for example, recently announced plans to roll out generative AI-enabled business software to streamline efficiency. 


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The German insurance giant revealed it will use AI tools to support underwriters and risk consultants, helping to improve productivity and free up time dedicated to risk assessment practices.

The insurance industry has been tipped as a prime candidate for generative AI-related transformation moving forward. Research from McKinsey this year found that AI technologies could add up to $1.1 trillion in potential annual revenue for the sector.

Around $400 billion of this could come from pricing, underwriting, and promotion technology upgrades, with $300 billion from AI-powered customer service and personalized offerings.

Emma Woollacott

Emma Woollacott is a freelance journalist writing for publications including the BBC, Private Eye, Forbes, Raconteur and specialist technology titles.