By Lee Min-hyung

Artificial intelligence (AI) is ushering in a paradigm shift in the conservative insurance industry, as more market players introduce new sets of time-saving AI-powered platforms to enhance business efficiency.

It has been years since AI started appearing in almost all industries due to its usefulness in a wide range of applications and human-like versatility.

Most globally leading companies have gone all-out to incorporate the big data-driven technology into their platforms, in a desperate bid to take the lead in the promising growth area.

Despite the global AI sensation, local insurers have so far remained less agile in jumping on the bandwagon. But starting this year, they began to utilize the technology in their own ways by developing automated, data-driven AI software.

On the development front, the Korea Insurance Development Institute (KIDI) recently developed an AI-driven car repair estimation software program. This will streamline insurance payment processes, as the platform _ called AOS Alpha _ can calculate the cost of repairs by analyzing images of a damaged car.

The institute developed the AI platform by analyzing 1 million images via deep learning. It said AOS Alpha can estimate repair costs for 195 cars _ ranging from sedans to SUV. The figure will increase down the road, as the platform increases its datasets. The accuracy of the platform will also improve against the same backdrop.

The nation’s 12 non-life insurers, which operate car insurance, plan to bring in the service for their businesses. KIDI said they are training staffs before introducing the platform.

“The introduction of the platform in the local insurance industry will help improve insurance culture by reducing distrust and conflict between interested parties, as AOS Alpha is expected to set a standard in offering car repair costs,” said Park Jin-ho, research head at KIDI’s auto technology laboratory.

Staring from mid-January, Hanwha Life Insurance, one of the so-called big three life insurers here, also introduced an AI-driven insurance claim review system. This was the first time in the industry that a cloud-based platform was introduced for real-time insurance claim analysis here.

According to the company, the system can automatically make decisions on whether to provide insurance payments to its users. The company has racked up 11 million insurance claim datasets over the past three years, ever increasing the accuracy of the system.

For now, the system processes 25 percent of insurance claims, but the company plans to increase the figure to 50 percent in the near future. The Hanwha affiliate expects the platform to reduce fixed costs of more than 10 billion won ($8.16 million) for the next five years.

Kyobo Life Insurance and Samsung Fire & Marine Insurance are also joining the AI drive by utilizing the technology in their insurance contract review process.

In October 2019, Kyobo Life developed BARO insurance contract review system. According to the company, BARO is capable of making human-like decisions in whether to approve an insurance contract. The AI system analyzes whether an applicant meets the standards of its insurance product.

The Samsung affiliate is also operating the AI-powered insurance contract review system. The software can automatically approve or reject users’ applications for the firm’s health and cancer insurance products by conducting computerized screening procedures without human labor, the company said.