Crawford’s Tolson on GenAI’s potential: “We're past the tipping point, but we’ve only scratched the surface”

Artificial intelligence and generative AI (GenAI) will soon impact every facet of life, including the insurance value chain, Crawford & Company global president Kenneth Tolson has told The Insurer TV.

Crawford uses AI and machine learning in multiple ways, including to examine first notice of loss (FNOL) data, which Tolson said can result in better triage of claims.

“There are more options than ever, more technologies than ever, for adjusters or claims professionals to be able to use. But with those options, adds complexity,” he explained.

That’s where AI comes in, helping to predict the outcome of claims by examining large amounts of data.

That data, said Tolson, is essential to helping adjusters and claim professionals make sounder decisions, lifting some of the burden off of individuals and making them more productive, but without taking away their agency.

“We have a model in production today that's actually examining the coverage interpretation based on the program itself, so very tailored to a particular coverage set, and predicting where the coverage issues might exist based on the evolving data landscape about a particular claim,” said Tolson.

“So it's helping the adjuster manage those processes and be better informed, make better decisions, but not take the decisioning away from the adjuster.”

GenAI is especially useful in helping adjusters and others to understand large volumes of data. But Tolson said it can also dramatically improve the customer experience.

“Things like automating the responsiveness or providing status updates to customers, we actually are using GenAI to help us write better triaging questions and actually walk the policyholder through the FNOL process,” said Tolson.

“It actually helps the adjuster ask better questions or the customer service rep ask better questions based on the data that's being given.”

But new technologies are often accompanied by increased risk – something which Crawford works hard to address and to mitigate, said Tolson.

“We really need to be cautious when it comes to how we move this forward, and just diligent about our own controls, whether it's around privacy and data and what we're doing with this, and understand and anticipate those unintended consequences, I think that can happen if we're not careful.”

Tolson noted that great care must be taken to properly train the models to make sure bias stays out of the mix.

“You really need to be objective in this space. I think it's critical that you have the right controls and compliance around what you're training the model with. And also the output of the model as well.”

In addition to keeping a keen watch on the ethical boundaries of GenAI, Tolson said Crawford focuses on keeping business leaders and frontline workers well informed on the latest AI products and developments.

Adoption, said Tolson, is inextricably linked to properly educating customers and their policyholders.

“We have really gone to great lengths to try to make sure that we're having the greatest impact to the policyholder and driving policyholder experience, because that's what's important to our customers.”

As new uses and products involving AI come online, Tolson said that Crawford will take a holistic approach, with “eyes wide open”, to make sure the organisation is comfortable with the output of the technology.

“I think transparency is the key to that.”

Watch this 18-minute video to learn more about:

  • How Crawford uses GenAI to assist its customers
  • How the technology helps adjusters to parse through large data sets
  • How GenAI can help to predict where coverage issues exist
  • How Crawford battles against bias and other potential ethical issues
  • Why education is key to AI’s adoption