A Japanese insurance company has decided to get rid of 34 jobs and instead get artificial intelligence to take over assessing medical insurance claims over the phone.
Starting from January 2017, Tokyo-based Fukoku Life Insurance Mutual Company is handing over the roles of 34 human insurance agents to IBM Watson Explorer, which is a cognitive search and content analysis platform that uses machine learning and language processing to analyse data for trends and patterns.
According to a press release, Fukoku Life is using IBM Watson Explorer to classify and categorise diseases, injuries and surgical procedures. When insurance policy holders call the company's hotline to make an insurance claim, the IBM Watson supercomputer is able to analyse the customer's voice and detect keywords.
As part of making the claim, the policyholder has to submit a medical certificate showing what condition they have, and IBM Watson can detect the name of the injury or disease listed, as well as dates such as the hospital admission date and surgery date.
The supercomputer compares the information against company data to assess whether the customer is eligible for a payment, and the system has been trained to handle insurance claims in the same way that a human insurance claim agent would, by following a training model set up by human assessors and seeing how they dealt with previous claims.
"By introducing this system, we anticipate that we can reduce the burden of business processes by about 30%," said Fukoku Life. "IBM Watson Explorer will improve the efficiency of business and speed up payments by carrying out payment assessment of benefits.
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