Interview with Charles Dugas, Insurance AI Lead at Element AI

Charles Dugas is the Insurance AI Lead at Element AI, a company that delivers AI software products that augment decisions to make businesses stronger, safer, and more agile.

Mr. Dugas is also a speaker at the Insurance AI & Analytics USA conference on May 2 – 3 in Chicago.

In this interview, Mr. Dugas shares insights on how insurance companies can use AI to improve customer experience and get ready for the opportunities brought by AI.


Q: Where do you see the biggest potential of applying AI in the insurance industry in the coming years? Which trends do you think are the most significant?

Augmentation and automation of decision-making will play an important role. There’s a lot of time spent processing information to perform trivial tasks. That will be automated. More complex decision-making will be supported by AI software providing guidance.

Q: What are the biggest challenges faced by the insurance industry today? Can AI be leveraged to address these challenges?

Most insurers lack the agility that is necessary to adapt to a fast changing market place. They are encumbered by legacy systems and processes. AI can’t help much with legacy systems, but it can help redesign processes so that they become adaptive and can better address the needs of customers in a given context. For example, some insurers operate with a large number of underwriting rules, sometimes in the hundreds, some of which are obsolete. AI can help constantly reassess these rules and potentially suggest new ones.       

Q: What is your experience of applying Chatbots & Conversational AI in insurance?

We don’t provide chatbots. Chatbots or conversational agents provide a means to interact with customers more naturally and that should help with customer engagement. As more insurance transactions are happening online rather than over the phone or in person, the emphasis on providing customers with a positive online experience will become important. The challenge is in developing chatbots that account for the full context of the client’s situation in order to interact intelligently.

Q: Which AI-related technology do you think is the most impactful in insurance, and will be in the future?

Recent advances in natural language understanding, using deep learning, allows insurers to be more efficient at processing information in order to perform decision-making. Although not as sexy and exciting as satellite imagery, natural language processing and understanding remains the domain where I see most potential in the coming years.

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Q: How can insurance companies leverage AI & Analytics to make their customers happier and more satisfied?

I like to bundle AI applications in three categories: engagement, automation, and insights. Engagement applications such as chatbots and recommender systems allow you to better interact with your clients through digital channels. As mentioned above, this will become increasingly important as more insurance transactions happen online. Automation allows an insurer to streamline certain processes, e.g., straight-through processing of claims. Finally, insights leverage AI capabilities to process complex information and extract meaningful information to improve the accuracy of prediction or decision-making.

Q: How can insurance companies prepare for the changes in the industry brought by AI technology?

First and foremost, they need to get educated on the capabilities and current limitations of AI. Then they should take a strategic approach and identify areas where they can most benefit from AI, e.g., underwriting and claims. In order to prioritize AI use cases, we use what is called the DVF framework: desirability, viability, and feasibility. In a nutshell, for an AI use case to rank high, you need to have (1) a strong stakeholder buy-in, (2) a high expected ROI, and (3) validation of the technical feasibility. Following these steps should help insurers get started on their journey.


Join Mr. Dugas at Insurance AI and Analytics USA

Charles Dugas will be one of the speakers for Insurance AI and Analytics USA, happening in Chicago in May 2019.

Charles Dugas’s Talk and Panel Discussion

May 2nd at 14:10

Augment your underwriters by leveraging AI

  • Increase underwriting profitability by augmenting capacity to process submissions and reduce monthly overflow
  • Utilize the diminished data entry time to spend more time underwriting and building relationships
  • Explore a practical use-case of AI in Underwriting: Learn how to start an AI project and improve your underwriting processes

Together with: Sean Christie, Information Officer, Vice President Information services Gore Mutual Insurance

May 2nd at 14:50

Panel Discussion & Joint Q&A

  • Paul Barone, Chief Actuary – Global Insurance Claims, XL Catlin, a division of AXA XL
  • Charles Dugas, Head of Insurance Element AI
  • Sean Christie, Information Officer, Vice President Information services Gore Mutual Insurance
  • Mike Gulla Director of Underwriting Hippo Insurance

MODERATOR: Chuck Gomez,Vice President Research & Consulting Novarica

View the complete agenda →

The mission of AI Time Journal is to divulge information
and knowledge about Artificial Intelligence, the changes that
are coming and new opportunities to use AI technology to
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About AI Time Journal Editorial Staff

The mission of AI Time Journal is to divulge information and knowledge about Artificial Intelligence, the changes that are coming and new opportunities to use AI technology to benefit humanity.

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