How AI is making it easier to take out life insurance

Ben Tosi

Friday 18 May 2018

We’ve all been there. Nine questions deep into a life insurance questionnaire, with no end in sight, the will to continue is waning and your favourite social media feed is waiting in the tab next door. You quit.

We’ve all been there. Nine questions deep into a life insurance questionnaire, with no end in sight, the will to continue is waning and your favourite social media feed is waiting in the tab next door. You quit.

This is the big problem facing the life insurance industry, or should we say, the big problem that was facing the life insurance industry.

That’s because OnePath Life Insurance, owned and operated by ANZ, yesterday revealed a new streamlined set of life insurance questions developed using machine learning models that have revolutionised the underwriting process.

As reported by ComputerWorld, the new life insurance questionnaire is the brainchild of a collaboration between OnePath and researchers from the University of Technology, Sydney, reducing a section of the application process from 32 questions to just seven.

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And while technology might be enabling these new changes, the driving force behind it is consumer behaviours.

“Today's society has expectations, especially millennials, in terms of fulfilment: they don't want to wait," said OnePath's Chief Underwriter, Peter Tilocca.

"Our goal was to utilise data and analytics to reduce the number of questions that we ask during the underwriting process and reduce the friction to improve the customer experience."

Life insurance industry set to get a makeover

Technology is currently transforming a range of different insurance industries.

For example, just last October, Mozo reported on how home insurance was getting a rework thanks to the growing insurtech movement with better prices and more efficient services the major consumer benefits.

But of all the insurances, Tilocca believes life insurance has the most to gain because the way things are done at the moment is “a bit back to front.”

"We quote you a premium first, then we ask you to fill out a medical history and lengthy questionnaire, and then depending on your history we may come back and say 'actually your premium has increased, we have to exclude your back because you've had a back problem in the past'. And in a worst case scenario we can't accept to cover at all,” he said.

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But thanks to artificial intelligence - the broad term for this kind of technology - customers are getting a far more satisfying experience when they go online to get insured and if KPMG’s recent reporting is to be believed, this is only the start for the insurance industry.

Last year the firm reported that venture capital investment in insurtech companies had almost doubled to top US$1 billion in 2016 and wrote that ‘the cutting-edge technologies helping to change the face of insurance, is exploding, and is poised for more growth in the year ahead.’

It’s certainly an exciting time to be an insurance customer down under. But you don’t have to sit around and wait to get insured. Check out a range of life insurance policies using Mozo’s comprehensive comparison tables or use our guide on what to look for in a life insurance policy if you’re not quite sure on where to start.

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