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AI revolutionising insurance and finance services in New Zealand

Artificial Intelligence is said to be one of the most revolutionary forces for the insurance and financial trades in New Zealand, according to a new report by the AI Forum of New Zealand.

According to the report, which focuses on financial and insurance services, the recent interest in AI is a result of factors such as increasing computing power, increased accessibility to mass data, and burgeoning interest in conversational based digital interfaces.

AI Forum executive director Emma Naji says there is a fast-paced evolution towards autonomous vehicles, connected vehicles and homes, shared and on-demand economies, and peer-to-peer insurance models.

She says, "These changes are adding a new dimension to the competitive landscape. Insurers need to reinvent and redefine their business to respond to the changing marketplace. Insurers face pressure to cut costs and become more customer centric to remain competitive and relevant."

The industry must transform from a product-centric mindset to a customer-centric mindset, AI Forum states. Companies should look to deliver contextual and personalised sales and service through customers' channels of choice.

The insurance industry is using AI to automate claims processing and recommend products. By leveraging machine learning, insurers are finding they can gain a competitive edge over their competitors by developing real-time actions on behavioural and demographic data, according to the report.

To advance this, the report recommends the Government to accelerate and broaden its industry transformation plans and consider a specific government-supported focus on the future of the financial services sector, including the role that AI has to play.

When it comes to financial services, the AI Forum Zealand report says NZ fintech companies must focus on developing and exporting AI-driven financial services products, to markets like the UK, with big potential for sales.

Large banks and insurers should seek to partner with local fintech and insurtech communities to foster AI innovation and collaboration is vital, it says.

“The report calls for the financial sector organisations to seize the opportunity and work together across the ecosystem on collective solutions to shared problems, such as anti-money laundering controls and fraud prevention,” Naji says.

An increase in New Zealand investment in AI research for financial and insurance use cases is needed, according to AI Forum. Financial organisations should focus on talent development, including technical and AI savvy management.

“With increased levels of investment and effective regulation, AI-driven innovation can help make the New Zealand financial and insurance services sectors become nimbler, customer driven, and effective. AI can automate the claims process. This same technology can assist insurers to identify claims fraud. Cross-industry use cases play well into the insurance sector.

"There is growing interest in how AI can solve some long-standing business problems. Insurers are focussing on the customers digital experience,” Naji says.

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