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AI unlikely to replace human element in insurance: Panelists

Posted On: Dec. 6, 2023 11:26 AM CST


NEW YORK — Artificial intelligence will provide insurance professionals with powerful new tools to improve efficiencies but is unlikely to replace the human element in commercial insurance, according to a panel of industry veterans who spoke Monday at Business Insurance’s 2023 Women to Watch Awards and Conference.

Leah Cooper, Chattanooga, Tennessee-based global chief digital officer for Sedgwick Claims Management Services Inc., told the audience that the discipline of artificial intelligence began in the 1950s. “That’s something that not a lot of people actually think about,” she said.

It's only with the development of newer technologies, though, that “people are using it on a daily basis in ways that I don't think any of us ever envisioned,” Ms. Cooper said.

This has led to some apprehension about the role AI may eventually play among its human users, panelists said.

Veronique Grenon, New York-based vice president, data strategy for Healthcare Risk Advisors, a subsidiary of TDC Group, the common brand for The Doctors Company, said the advent of artificial intelligence should not be seen as “human versus machine” but rather as “human with machine versus human without machine.”

Ms. Grenon said that with so much of the data owned by the commercial insurance sector in unstructured forms, tools like generative AI can help “unlock the power to have all of this data that we have been collecting.”

Gia Sawko, Boca Raton, Florida-based director of claims for Gradient AI, said artificial intelligence can help speed the claims process through techniques including data mining and neural networks, which help recognize patterns in claims data. She added that while AI is unlikely to replace people, it may replace some manual processes, but a human eye will likely always be required to review whatever work a machine has done.

“We’ll always have a human component,” said Lori Seidenberg, New York-based global director, real assets insurance risk management, at Blackrock Inc. Artificial intelligence should provide the industry with some advantages, but “the human aspect will still need to be there, because that's what insurance is all about.”