How Smart Tech Supports Flexible, Responsive and Intelligent Insurance

Industry Experiences: How Smart Tech Supports Flexible, Responsive and Intelligent Insurance, with Nick Leimer

In this series of the podcast, I sit down with industry leaders to explore the digital transformation disrupting almost every industry.

My guest for this episode is Nick Leimer, Principle Industry Lead for Azure Insurance at Microsoft.  Nick is part of a newly formed “outreach and connection” team tasked with championing the Azure platform to support digital transformation and cloud technology for the insurance industry.

Many traditional industries are undergoing a digital transformation, and insurance is no exception.  Insurance has been around for a few hundred years. Now — thanks to cloud computing, machine learning, artificial intelligence, advanced analytics capabilities and other transformative technologies — insurance companies can more accurately model risk, customize pricing and better meet the needs of a transforming market.

In this interview, Nick and I discuss the evolution of the insurance industry and how cloud computing has been an important sea change to the industry. We discuss “InsurTech” and how technology advancements like artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, the internet of things (IoT) and other technologies are driving both the capture and processing of data that goes into insurance models and the delivery of services to customers.

During the discussion, Nick points out the increasing demand for complex data analysis and predictive modeling coming from this market, and how Microsoft Azure’s rapidly expanding platform offers some compelling tools to propel insurance into the future.

Nick also sheds some light on how insurance organizations are embracing new technologies in creative and practical ways. Some customers are using bots to assist with external and internal workflows, such as helping customers select the right insurance plan. There are also layers of machine learning to support the whole value chain, not just sales. Nick shares an example of machine learning to assist with real-time claims processing, risk modeling and pricing strategies as new information comes into the system.

In the future, Nick anticipates that these intelligent approaches to risk modeling and pricing will become even more refined. He gives us a couple examples:

  • Employers will more widely offer insurance discounts to employees based on their activity levels as tracked by wearables
  • IoT sensors in cars can help decrease risks on the road and will help customize policies based on who is driving and how often

According to Nick, the more data insurance companies can gather, the more personalized insurance policies will become through real-time risk assessment.

We dove into the hot topic of AI or Artificial Intelligence. AI is supporting processing by gathering all the data from customer-facing bots and IoT sensors and can perform modeling based on data coming in from these channels to flip claim processing on its head. Nick explains that AI is helping insurance companies with claim mitigation by using predictive and preventative maintenance, rather than after an event occurs. This trend has been around for a while on the commercial side, but as smart home and smart car technology becomes more ubiquitous, Nick predicts we will soon see this trend expand into the consumer insurance space as well.

Nick also shares some excellent advice for customers and partners that are interested in entering the “InsurTech” space via Azure. Microsoft is continually building new toolsets on the Azure platform, like blockchain, in addition to enhancing the other intelligent technologies of AI, IoT and machine learning. Given how integral these technologies are becoming for the insurance sector, there’s significant potential for partners to get involved. Continue to watch this space — Nick and his team are creating additional documentation and resources for partners and customers to support the digital transformation of the insurance industry.

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This episode of the podcast is sponsored by Microsoft and the Industry Experiences Team.