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Insurance company uses artificial intelligence to assess car damage when claims are made

In the latest insurtech development, the UK arm of insurance company Ageas is using artificial intelligence to assess vehicle damage in accidents

Insurance company Ageas is using artificial intelligence (AI) to assess damage to vehicles through photographs supplied by the policyholders making claims.

Ageas customers in the UK can submit photographs as they report accidents, via smartphones and can get decisions on their next steps within minutes and in some cases while they are on their initial phone call to the insurer. 

This is being made possible through computer vision and machine learning technology which look at digital photographs of damaged cars and quickly estimate the repair cost.

The latest development in insurance technology (insurtech) promises to cut the time and costs associated with processing claims and makes it simple for the customer to report them.

Computer vision, along with machine learning techniques used by Tractable, will make quick decisions and estimates on repair costs. The technology was trialled last year and Ageas now plans to roll it out to resolve thousands of claims every month. 

The AI calculates the full repair costs by identifying which parts of the vehicle have been affected and how. It will provide a detailed estimate, including recommended repair and paint, as well as costs and labour hours. The technology is trained on millions of photos of car damage, and the algorithms learn from experience.

Robin Challand, claims director at Ageas in the UK, said the technology smooths the claims and repairs processes. “We realised that the technology could make a real difference to our customers in the aftermath of an accident and have improved our claims experience by supporting customers when they report claims and assisting our repairers in the early assessment of what’s required.”

Read more about insurtech

Insurers are being forced to innovate and use the latest digital technologies to improve customer services. The emergence of and subsequent investment in insurtech is transforming the insurance sector, which has changed very little in terms of customers over its long history.

Like the financial technology (fintech) industry, which attempts to simplify how people engage with their finances, insurtech strives to make dealing with insurance companies – traditionally a nightmare for people already stressed due to an accident – simple.

Meanwhile, insurance companies are using the latest technologies to offer more products and services. Who would have thought a few years ago that you could use a mobile telephony device to add your friend to your car insurance for a day in near real time? This is the kind of service people want today, and this is where extra revenues will come from for insurers that are capable of offering such services.

A survey last year of 8,000 people globally, carried out by Salesforce owned MuleSoft, found 62% of 18- to 34-year-olds said they would be happy for insurers to use their internet of things and social media data if it meant lower premiums and a more personalised service.

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