Newly-revealed algorithm provides estimates in just six seconds

Human claims adjusters go head-to-head with Ant Financial's estimating AI at a demonstration in Beijing, assessing damage on 12 cases. Both the humans and the AI flagged the same claim for further investigation.

By CRM Staff

Beijing, China — June 28, 2017 — Can an algorithm assess vehicle damage in six seconds? Ant Financial says it can, and a recent demonstration seems to prove the company’s case. Ant Financial is the financial affiliate of China’s e-commerce giant Alibaba Group. Ant Financial has announced the rollout of an artificial intelligence-driven, image-recognition system that the company says will aid vehicle insurance claims adjusters in operating faster and more efficiently.

The AI system only assesses exterior damage, but that’s a significant chunk of collision claims. According to a statement from Ant Financial, exterior damage comprises about 60 percent of the approximately 45 million private-vehicle insurance claims filed in China each year. The company also says the system is aimed at making assessment of external vehicle damage more standardized and objective.

Ant Financial is initially offering the AI damage-assessment system only to insurers, but plans to make the product available to car owners within a year.

“It is a technology that we are constantly working on to improve, therefore we are offering it for free to insurance companies. We are opening up our AI capabilities to our partners, so that they can reduce cost and better serve small and micro-businesses,” said Yin Ming, President of Ant Financial’s Insurance Business Unit.

The idea is that motorists could simply snap a photo of any damage and send it their insurer. The AI system would then enable the insurance company to assess the extent of the damage, cost of repair and list nearby repair shops and their prices.

Ant Financial demonstrated the system’s efficiency during the initial rollout in Beijing. The algorithm squared off against six experienced human claims adjusters, looking over 12 separate cases. The machine took six seconds to assess the damage and set claim amounts for all 12 cases. The human claims adjusters took six minutes and 48 seconds to reach their conclusions. Perhaps the most interesting part is that both machine and humans judged that one of the 12 cases required further investigation.

“We have been trying everything to improve efficiency. Ant’s team achieved what we have done in the past five years by working on this for a year,” said Yu Ze, General Manager of China Taiping Property Insurance.


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