Why won’t AI totally disrupt insurance ? …. because it’s all about the “why”.

The ability of AI to change the insurance landscape is real and there is no doubt that it has the potential to speed up claims lodgement, processing and resolution. But it’s not the complete answer. Why? Because good insurers and their claims team, from front line staff to their lawyers, are driven by a desire to help when someone is in a time of need.

In a time of crisis, relationships are critical. People want to speak to people. Whether they have been sued, facing an investigation from a regulator or making a claim on a policy – people want to, they need to, speak to another person.

This week an insurance company was my most dialled number. Sally was the person who kept me calm and relayed me information, while Scott and Robert helped with the policy issues and took the pressure off our family.

7 days ago my mother suffered a serious accident in Acapulco, Mexico. My parents were on a 7 week trip to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary. A freak wave caused serious trauma which, so far, has involved two major surgeries in a small Mexican hospital where little English is spoken. My mother is in intense pain, completely immobilised and they are both feeling very vulnerable and scared.

Thankfully they have travel insurance. Being the insurance lawyer of the family I know how to read a policy, know what information was needed to enable a decision on indemnity to be made quickly and knew how to get some of the administrative road blocks cleared. It’s in these administrative areas that AI may well be useful.

However the real benefit provided by the insurer has been the personal touch – something that AI can never replace – the regular phone calls, the times when we have spoken at length with the claims team to understand medical reports written in Spanish, have someone help us process the situation and share in the shock, trauma and helplessness we are feeling, having claims case managers telephone my father in Acapulco several times a day to check in on how he is going, keep him updated on developments and next steps. Having people reassure me that the treatment is appropriate.

I told Sally how much our family appreciated her help, and she simply said “That is why I do this, to help people get through probably one of the most traumatic things they will experience”.

AI does not do that, AI adds value from a business efficiency perspective and may result in cheaper premiums. But it will not, and cannot totally replace the real reason for why you purchase insurance – for help if it something goes wrong.

So by all means embrace AI, look for ways to improve the efficiencies of insurance, but don’t forget the why – the reason insurers exist and the reason so many of us in the insurance industry do what we do – to help when something goes wrong.

Please contact Julie if you wish to understand some of the issues raised in this judgment in more detail. If you would like to keep up-to-date on issues and developments relevant to professionals follow Julie Somerville on LinkedIn..

Any opinions expressed are my own, not those of Meridian Lawyers. The information contained in my posts is for general information only and does not give rise to a solicitor/client relationship. You should obtain professional legal advice before making decisions in relation to, or acting upon, the matters discussed in my posts.

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