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In 2019, MS&AD Ventures (Menlo Park, Calif.), the investment arm of MS&AD (Tokio) invested in Geosite, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based provider of business intelligence solutions using spatial data, in 2019, as part of the insurer’s broader strategy of integrating innovative technologies to digitally transform insurance practices. The Tokio-based global insurer then worked with the startup to create a single platform for geospatial claims. Having created a platform with Geosite, MS&AD went on to create property attributes algorithms and a claims application that lets adjusters upload data to a single location, and commences a journey to full automation of claims decision-making.
Speeding Claims Payments
MS&AD had highly manual claims processes characteristic of the insurance industry and wanted to reduce those and use more data and automation technology to speed claims payments, according to Jack (Tasuku) Toyama, Head of Business development, MS&AD Ventures. Following the company’s investment in Geosite, MS&AD began developing a proof of concept (POC) with the vendor.
“MS&AD Japan didn’t use any geospatial data for claims or underwriting processing, so as a first step we sought to do a POC to create a prototype of what a geospatial platform would look like for claims processing,” recalls Toyama. “We spend two or three months to build a mock-up and then showed a prototype to people in Japan. It made a good impression because it was applicable to claims and other areas.”
Property Attribute Algorithms
Having created a platform with a single repository that could be used across the enterprise, MS&AD undertook a second step in its engagement with Geosite to build algorithms to detect property attributes, such as roof shape and condition. “Our claims processing was very manual, so data such as this accessible on a platform could help to accelerate claims processing,” comments Toyama.
Building on the success of the property attributes project, MS&AD worked with Geosite on a consulting basis to both evaluate the accuracy of a flood depth solution and work to refine it for add to the platform and be used with Geosite’s data. “Geosite is very flexible,” notes Toyama. “Sometimes they help us with geospatial expertise.”
MS&AD’s success with Geosite has led to a proliferation of projects, but one of the most important has been the development of a claims application. “To be honest, our claims processing is outdated and highly manual, which results in payouts taking a long time,” Toyama confides.
Claims Application for Adjusters
The application is designed to change the way adjusters work, who have historically needed to visit the site of a claim. “They need to go to a physical site, take photos and then input inundation height in their upload to legacy systems,” Toyama explains. “There systems are siloed, so there is no single place to input data—and that has slowed the claims process.”
The single Geosite-based platform consolidates all the claims data from adjusters into a single place. The data can then be analyzed and give claims managers a unified view of an entire area, for example when affected by a weather event.
“Our ultimate goal is to not have to send an adjuster to the side,” says Toyama. “Step by step, as we use geospatial data effectively, all decision-making will be automated.”
The primary problem MS&AD faces is the need to serve the customer faster, Toyama stresses. “Data remains limited and collection is very manual,” he says. “In the future, we want to collect data in an automated fashion.”
Following the data collection phase, MS&AD seeks to automate decisions for allocating human resources during weather events. “If we have typhoon data right after the disaster, we can make better and faster decisions to allocate resources,” Toyama elaborates. “The Geosite platform helps because we need so much different data, such as aerial imagery from satellites, drones or balloons. We don’t want to have to access multiple siloed systems.”
While it’s still early days in MS&AD’s claims automation journey, Toyama reports that the insurer expects Geosite’s technology to make a significant impact. “Today it takes an average of 15 days to pay out a claim,” Toyama says. “Using the Geosite platform, with the satellite and aerial data and the property attributes capabilities, we are confident that we can dramatically reduce time, more than 50 percent for sure.”