India is one of the world’s largest and fastest-growing auto insurance markets – but until now, the sector has had to rely on traditional ways to renew lapsed policies or make repair claims. Both services have required inspectors to physically look over vehicles and make damage assessments.
In a country with more than 230 million vehicles and 1200 auto accidents every day, scheduling inspections and getting approvals can keep cars and policyholders off the road for days or longer. A more convenient way was needed.
In case of lapsed policy instead of a physical inspection, customers can simply take images of their vehicle and upload them with Insure. The app then uses artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to divide the images into frames and identify the various parts of the car to look for damage. In most cases the AI module can make a judgement very quickly, reducing the time from days to mere minutes.
“We had been envisioning something like this for a long period of time,” says Girish Nayak, Chief Customer Service, Operations & Technology, for ICICI Lombard. “We were not really successful working with some start-ups. Therefore, we approached Microsoft to see if we could do this together.”
The two companies started collaborating where software engineers from both companies met and worked on a prototype.
“The prototype gave us confidence that something like this is possible,” said Nayak.
Using the Azure platform, computer vision, and machine learning (ML) technologies, they refined the process until the accuracy was fit for purpose.
The feature was launched in December of 2018 and has worked as expected. Nayak said, “real time renewals of expired policies makes the customer experience consistent and convenient.”
According to a new study by IDC Asia/Pacific and Microsoft, “Future Ready Business: Assessing Asia’s Growth Potential Through AI”, organizations in India that have adopted AI have seen tangible improvements of 22% better customer engagement and 21% more productive employees. Further improvements of at least 2.1 times are forecasted over a three-year horizon.
Expanding AI in auto insurance
Renewing policies online has proven to be successful — the company is currently processing between 150 to 200 cars per day — but as Nayak pointed out, using AI for renewals is just a “stepping stone” for the company. AI is a major thrust for the company, and they are very near to using AI to process repair claims as well. The solution is currently in beta stage and is expected to be launched in 2019.
Compare that to the new, AI-driven process; a customer will use the app to take photographs of car’s damage. Once uploaded, the system’s deep learning model and computer vision identifies in real time all the parts of the vehicle, like roof, window or bumper and then spots all the different types of damage – be it scratch, dent, crack, and so on. Most importantly, the app replies with an estimated cost quickly using historical data.
With AI, the company aims to complete simple claims in days, instead of weeks when the module is launched towards the end of 2019.
Improving customer experience and business outcomes
The advantages to the customer are clear. They can file claims whenever and wherever is convenient and will receive estimates much faster than before.
The app is also valuable to ICICI Lombard from a business perspective. Automating the process reduces the possibility of inaccurate assessments due to human error. And, increased efficiency and productivity improves the bottom line.
Nayak said inspectors are being trained in new skills. “With AI coming in, it frees up their time to prioritize complex cases and personal customer interaction, as well as providing career paths in learning new techniques as well.”
With the launch of the app, the company aims to substantially increase employee productivity and customer satisfaction.
As AI remakes their auto insurance business, ICICI Lombard is keen to employ the technology wherever it aligns with their vision of increasing efficiency and improving customer experience. Currently, they are working towards launching similar AI-powered apps for their health and marine insurance customers.