Why risk control always needs the ‘human touch’

Why risk control always needs the ‘human touch’ | American insurance business

However, technologies drive efficiencies

Why do you always need to control risk?

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Technology is changing the way the insurance industry is able to perform day-to-day tasks, but it will not overshadow the necessary human element required for business, said the vice president of insurance for insurers.

“You really can’t replace the human touch,” said Kristin Sullivan (pictured), senior vice president of risk control North America at Sumbo. “In the area of ​​risk control, we take pride in our customer relationships, and that is more important than ever in today’s world.”

However, she said, “technologies are making us more efficient in our work.”

“It has the potential to take a third of the duties assigned to us from our page because it is now streamlined with a mechanical solution, which gives us more time to work on other, more challenging projects,” Sullivan said.

During a seated interview at the 2023 edition of RIMS in Atlanta, Sullivan spoke to the insurance company about how artificial intelligence and other technologies are already changing the way risk management professionals do their daily roles, and what the future might look like.

COVID has helped foster a new way of doing business

Many industries operating during the COVID-19 pandemic have experienced a steep learning curve in order to perform duties in a remote environment. This was true of risk management professionals, who were suddenly unable to physically inspect businesses and other physical structures due to health mandates.

“Since we essentially shut down COVID, we have not been allowed to travel or enter customer sites and potentially expose others to the virus in an enclosed space,” Sullivan said.

To bypass these barriers, insurance companies had to take advantage of high-tech devices that allowed risk managers to complete their tasks with the vigilance the job required. There is also the advantage of being able to perform work that crosses geographic boundaries while being stationed remotely.

“There has been an increased use of virtual technology that has allowed us to walk through a facility without being physically present,” Sullivan said.

“Now, instead of having to travel all the way to Alaska to inspect a site, I can see everything through the software and take pictures to generate a report and share it with a surety, who can then write a policy accordingly.”

“Artificial intelligence is more than just a buzzword”

Artificial intelligence has become a hot topic in the insurance industry, especially thanks to its sophisticated design and ability to complete more menial tasks in various fields.

For those who input properly vetted information and statistics into AI, its ability to streamline workflows can be an advantage.

“Artificial intelligence is more than just a buzzword, and it is proving very useful in certain areas,” Sullivan said.

“We can now take a bunch of records and data, feed it through software, and it will pick out relevant keywords and other information that the underwriter needs to be aware of, such as whether a company is using a particular chemical that might be controversial.”

There is also benefit from artificial intelligence and other tools in training new professionals entering the field, which replace the standard PowerPoint deck or monotonous video.

“Running around here at RIMS, I’ve seen a couple of Oculus technologies making the rounds, which are slowly being used to teach people entering the field in a more immersive and less passive way,” Sullivan said.

“We can also use AI-designed images to make more specific points in a training unit, rather than resorting to less specific stock images.”

However, apart from this new improvement of standardized procedures, one must not forget the personal bonds between the insurance company and the insured which are fundamental and crucial.

“While AI can be very sophisticated and useful, it will have the human emotion or empathy that is at the heart of what we do,” Sullivan said.

“Risk control is enhanced and enhanced by the human touch and this is something no one will forget, especially in the face of disaster or loss.”

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