AXA recruits AI assistants in back office

Insurance giant is deploying software robots to take over repetitive tasks and free up humans to do more analytical work

Insurance giant AXA is using artificial intelligence (AI) to reduce the amount of repetitive work administration staff need to do.

AXA has targeted a saving of 18,000 man hours a year through the roll-out of software robots across three teams at the company.

One of the robots, known as Harry, has been in use in the customer property claims team since June 2018. At the end of last year, robots Bert and Lenny joined the commercial property and liability teams.

AXA said there have been no job cuts as a result of AI software roll-out.

“Operating among the human workforce, the bots are designed to pick up repetitive admin tasks, allowing staff to concentrate on more analytical work,” said AXA.

“The arrival of Harry, Lenny and Bert has been welcomed by employees and their deployment has not resulted in job losses.”

The software robots currently read customer correspondents and matches it with their account details, which takes 42 seconds rather than the four minutes it takes a human.

Read more about AI in finance sector

But AXA plans to expand the role of the AI software to more admin jobs this year, and it is planning another robot, known as Como, to work in its commercial motor team.

“We are delighted to welcome Harry, Bert and Lenny to our admin teams and are pleased their hard work is freeing up our human workforce to tackle more interesting, analytical tasks.

“The bots have been warmly received by their new colleagues and we are already looking at new tasks for them to take on, as well as other areas of the business where we might employ similar AI,” said Waseem Malik, executive managing director of Claims at AXA UK.

Financial services firms are stepping up their spending on AI to automate processes and improve services to business clients.

A report from financial services management consultancy Opimas said that in 2017 – discounting acquisitions of startups – finance firms in the investment sector spent $1.5bn on AI technologies, and predicted this would increase by 75% to $2.8bn in 2021.

Automation technology is mainly being used to replace manual tasks in the back office to date, but AI is also being introduced at the front end to improve trading services.

Read more on IT for financial services

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