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AI takes the pain out of insurance

Using artificial intelligence for insurance signing up and claiming was inspired by frustration, Granadilla Insurance CEO Jonathan Walker tells BRYAN TURNER

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Many financial institutions are scrambling to fit artificial intelligence into their existing business models, because of the perceived hype around how artificial intelligence (AI) will leave behind those who don’t embrace it. But those who have considered AI from the very beginning have a different challenge.

Granadilla Insurance launched its applications in July 2018, and set its sights on making claims easier. In fact, Granadilla’s CEO Jonathan Walker started the company because of a frustrating claims experience.

“I started Granadilla because when my laptop and cellphone got stolen, it took 8 weeks to get them back, ” says Walker. “On top of waiting, it was such a laborious process to get the claim processed, even though I was in financial services at the time. I thought that there had to be a better way to do claims.”

Walker started working on a new insurance model that was based on automation and cutting down claim time.

“Automation is the biggest advantage for the clients,” he says. “We consider claims from a customer’s point of view, making it easier for clients to claim by using artificial intelligence to assess whether the claim is legitimate or not. Automation helps us to keep a small team and, ultimately, keeps the costs down for our clients.

“How the AI works on the claims side is an automatic detection system with several trained algorithms that range fraud risk into three sections: low-risk claims are processed immediately, medium-risk claims are manually checked by our team, and high-risk claims are instantly marked as fraudulent. The beauty of our AI system is, the more claims we put through the system, the smarter it gets at sorting claims into these risk categories.

“Of the low-risk clients, we’ve had a claim processed in 1.7 seconds – no questions asked.

“Another huge benefit is our chatbot, Nandi, who asks all the underwriting questions and, depending on what product you choose, she sends you down the right path to be insured in around 2 minutes. It’s quick because we don’t ask you more than we need to. If you need to insure something after the fact, it may take less than 30 seconds to be insured. What’s also great is that Nandi is our hardest working employee because she never sleeps, so you can wake up in the middle of the night with the urge to insure your laptop and you’ll be able to do that.”

When asked how Granadilla aims to compete with other insurance companies, Walker puts it down to offering.

“This type of insurance doesn’t really compete with those who are currently insuring all their household contents, for example. Our offering is for those who don’t want to spend a fortune on insuring everything, but insuring the things they value the most, like smartphones, laptops, and gadgets. Our market segment is the more savvy app users who don’t necessarily want to wait on hold to sign up or process a claim.”

Overall, Walker says artificial intelligence can increase trust in the insurance industry.

“You’ll find customers have been paying their claims for years, thousands of Rands, and then it takes insurance companies a very long time to process claims, on top of making the claims process inconvenient. We started this because we think the insurance industry needs to change. We can reduce costs, reduce time, all the while increasing customer satisfaction and overall respect for the insurance industry.”

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