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IBM Watson, a cognitive system and an artificial intelligence (AI) platform, has already tried out a lot of professions, including science, law, medicine, and meteorology. Watson can work more effectively than people in most cases. As time goes, Watson’s ‘operational efficiency’ is increasing for the system is getting more powerful and functional.
This year Watson is making an attempt in insurance; moreover, it is a successful effort. By taking advantage of IBM services, a Japanese insurance company managed to reduce expenses cutting the number of full-time employees. Those were not just 2-3 employees, but as many as 34 all at once. According to the company management, IBM Watson is capable of increasing operational efficiency by 30%. Fukoku Mutual Life Insurance assumes that investment into the cognitive system developed by IBM can be paid back within 2 years or even less.
Estimates show that thanks to the actions taken, Fukoku Mutual Life Insurance will be able to save about EUR 1.5 million per year. The cognitive system installation costs the insurance company about EUR 2 million. Additional EUR 150,000 are spent on hardware and software maintenance.
As to the employees who were made redundant, the Japanese company paid them all the money due as well as the dismissal compensation. Qualified professionals shouldn’t have any problems with a new employment; moreover, Fukoku Mutual Life Insurance gave them all excellent references.
The platform base installed in the company office is IBM Watson Explorer, the service that, according to IBM representatives, is a cognitive technology capable of thinking like a human. Besides, IBM Watson Explorer can analyze and interpret massive datasets including unstructured texts, audio and video files.
For the insurance company, such functions are extremely important because IBM Watson Explorer can process thousands of medical case records of the insurance company clients as well as assess various factors that influence these people’s work, health, and life. Correspondingly, an insurance agent will have much less difficulty in estimating the payment due to each particular client.
After the amount of payment is calculated by the system, it should be approved by the company’s employee. The conclusions made by the cognitive service will be checked by the company management in order to avoid mistakes.
According to the estimates of Nomura Research Institute, clerks from insurance companies are by far not a single type of employees whose work can be substituted by cognitive technologies. Specialists from the institute state that by 2035 half the activities performed by people in Japan will have been done by robots.
The Japanese insurance company is not the only insurer that used Watson’s capabilities to estimate the amount of payment in the future for their clients. Dai-Ichi Life Insurance, another insurance company, also uses the cognitive system though the company decided not to fire their employees: everybody kept their jobs.
Artificial Intelligence will soon be essential to the country’s political life. The Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry is launching the cognitive system for the service to help the departmental officers find solutions to different issues and answer the questions with a self-contained line of reasoning in the course of office meetings and parliamentary sessions.
Among other things, AI will help find ample information regarding the energy-saving policy of the country, which will help answer similar questions.
If the experiment is successful, the practice will be adopted by other government agencies.