Acting editor Yiannis Kotoulas asks whether AI really could represent a panacea

Someone in the insurance industry must have really been on their game over Halloween, because all I’ve been hearing this month is that there’s no silver bullets. 

Everywhere I turn in hope of magical, catch-all solutions to the industry’s problems, it seems like people have run out of stock. 

Yiannis headshot serious 1

Yiannis Kotoulas

Now why is that? Well, it’s probably something to do with the fundamental nature of complex challenges – and the history of insurance is the story of overcoming those.

When trying to parse out out an incredibly complicated problem – such as trying to create reactive policy pricing from millions of data inputs , for example – the allure of a simple, catch-all solution is often too tempting to ignore. 

Artificial intelligence (AI) roared into the public consciousness earlier this year with the launch of ChatGPT – and, as with many new technologies, the utopian early assessments have now run their course. 

From earlier this year, when many were sharing lists of all the potential uses of AI and the fundamental ways in which it would alter society and the way we work, the conversation seems to have become more level-headed – as I said, the most common phrase heard now when discussing AI is “there are no silver bullets”. 

But aren’t there? Yes, AI cannot solve every problem by itself. But when used as a tool by a skilled insurance expert, there aren’t many things that AI couldn’t improve. 

The technology can filter millions of data points in seconds, identify and prioritise patterns, learn from its inputs and even draft policy wordings. And that’s just from the first iteration of the technology.

It’s not perfect, but with more development it really could become something of a silver bullet for many challenges the sector faces, or at least the closest we’ve come to a catch-all solution in a long time. 

Even where people may traditionally rail against the use of technology, such as in an instance where a distressed customer needs to make a claim, AI could recognise the sound of a distressed voice and triage that customer to the best possible claims handler. 

In this month’s issue, Insurance Times takes a look at how AI could help improve the claims process in the wake of increased complaints from customers. And here, technology editor Clare Ruel asks whether the rise of AI may even require the development of insurance policies to cover what happens when AI goes wrong

What is clear is that the technology is not going away. It may not fundamentally alter the way the world works, but I am confident that its development is no flash in the pan, even it isn’t our fabled panacea. 

Anyway, if anyone knows where I can get my hands on some silver bullets, let me know. There’s a full moon coming up.