(Screenshots of Flyreel AI Assistant mobile app. Source: Flyreel.)
Flyreel, a Denver-based provider of a smart phone app-based artificial intelligence (AI) assisted underwriting solution for commercial and residential properties, has undertaken with Microsoft aimed accelerating the availability of Flyreel’s underwriting assistant, according to a joint announcement. Through the alliance, Microsoft will invest resources and expertise to accelerate Flyreel’s go-to-market strategy, according to the vendor.
“So many of our insurance industry clients have been asking for this kind of intelligent, automated solution to help them cut costs, improve operational efficiency, and increase customer satisfaction and retention. But, we’ve been unable to find one—until now,” comments Colin McClive, Director, US Insurance Industry, Microsoft. “That’s why we’re so excited to work with Flyreel. Their solution does just that by enabling end users to conduct on-demand property inspections for better transparency and accuracy across the entire carrier-policyholder relationship.”
The partnering companies characterize Flyreel’s solution as addressing common challenges experienced by insurers when attempting to efficiently and accurately pricing premiums and underwriting coverage. An insurer may rely on a professional inspector to assess high-value properties, but that approach is expensive, inconsistent and can be difficult to scale, according to the joint statement. Also, many properties are insured sight-unseen based on averages for property features, contents and liability. This procedure increases the risk of the carrier overvaluing the property, quoting a high premium and losing the business, or they may undervalue and charge too little, resulting in premium leakage. It also can lead to insufficient coverage and customer dissatisfaction, especially in the wake of a claim.
Accurate Assessments, Accurate Quotes, Adequate Coverage
“Nearly 40 percent of customers look to switch carriers after a claim because of dissatisfaction with the way it was handled—most often because of discrepancies between the amount they thought they were covered for, versus what the insurance company is willing to pay,” remarks Cole Winans, CEO, Flyreel. “Flyreel solves that problem by letting the customer or another authorized end user act as the inspector to conduct an accurate assessment of the property value and its contents, ensuring a more accurate quote and sufficient coverage from the carrier. It’s a win for the entire insurance industry.”
The companies’ joint statement describes Flyreel’s solution as built for scale on the Microsoft Azure platform and delivered through a mobile app. Flyreel’s conversational AI-powered assistant can be used by customers, inspectors or brokers, guiding them through inspections just like an expert underwriter would, adapting to the user’s input to ask appropriate questions, the vendors say. Flyreel’s proprietary, insurance-specific computer vision technology documents the property’s contents, condition and more to create a complete inventory with exceptional ease and speed. The vendors say that insurers get detailed property and contents reports, allowing them to make underwriting decisions quickly and transparently, based on accurate data.
As a result, carriers can offer better coverage and pricing to customers and work with policyholders to jointly mitigate risk, according to the joint statement. In the event of a claim, the baseline documentation that the app secures is designed to help to minimize claim cycle times and expenses to ensure expediency and customer satisfaction at every point in the insurance lifecycle, the statement adds.
“Flyreel’s unique application of AI and computer vision technology provides a practical, user-friendly solution that empowers both consumers and carriers to make better, data-based decisions,” comments Tereza Nemessanyi, Entrepreneur-In-Residence at Microsoft for Startups who leads incubation of early-stage startups in strategic industries. “This is a perfect example of how artificial intelligence changes the game: by making complex processes so simple, that we don’t know how we managed to do it before.”
An ‘Interesting Variation’ on Self-Service FNOL
Donald Light, Director, North America Property/Casualty Practice, Celent (Boston) characterizes Flyreel’s solution as an interesting variation on the increasingly common policyholder self-service for auto physical damage first notice of loss process via guided use of a smartphone’s photo/video capabilities supported by AI and machine vision.
“Flyreel is using what appears to be broadly similar functionality to solve a different problem: incomplete and inaccurate property valuations in the underwriting process—which can lead inaccurate insurance to value ratios, which in turn result in premium leakage and poor claim experiences,” Light comments.
Light calls the Flyreel/Microsoft collaboration a likely win for both parties. “Flyreel gets some valuable technical support and market visibility,” he says. “Microsoft can showcase its cloud and AI capabilities—all in the service of (hopefully) solving some real industry problems. The connected home and Iot aspects of the technology are another plus.”