Interesting news out of Japan for any associations who are currently represent insurance claims adjusters, brokers, etc.
According to this new post by the World Economic Forum a Japanese insurance company, Fukoku Mutual Life Insurance, plans to use IBM’s Watson to replace 34 jobs in their insurance claims division beginning in the first quarter of 2017. The costs to implement Watson will be covered by the savings in salaries and is estimated to show a 30% increase in productivity as well as a corresponding increase in accuracy. Many sectors in the United States remain marginally aware of the rapid global advancements in artificial intelligence and the fact that the “development” phase is now giving way to actual deployment in the workplace. Although Watson can’t entirely replace their human workforce yet, this is another clear indication that changes are on the way….and sooner than you might expect.
If you are an association who represents insurance claims adjusters or deals in the insurance sector, you need to take a long, hard look at this. If this effort is successful, it will only be a matter of time before large insurers in the United States make similar moves to slash their personnel costs while increasing their productivity. As adoption increases, costs will come down and smaller agencies will have access to these technologies as well.
Remember, Watson and other AI machine intelligence have vast capabilities and infinite memory. Once operational they only require additional algorithmic tailoring to deal with new variables and/or expand their capabilities. This single factor explains why deployment worldwide will cause massive changes in “white collar” jobs estimated to be on a completely different timescale than our nearest mental model which is based on how the rise of automation radically redesigned the more industrial manufacturing arena. If your association is still using the “blue collar” deployment timescale to estimate how fast automation will move through middle level occupations you may be caught unaware when this hits (if it isn’t here already). We have entered the era of exponential change and we have a lot to think about as an association community.
If you are concerned about your members and what the potential impact of artificial intelligence might be please feel free to visit our occupational spreadsheet, look up your profession and consider what this new world means for you and your members. The information comes straight from the 2013 Oxford University study – The Future of Employment – which took an in-depth look at occupations within the United States labor market and their risks for significant impact or outright replacement over the next decade. For hints on how your association can start to rethink your education and workforce development processes in this disrupted environment please review “The Association Role in the New Education Paradigm.”
If you work or volunteer for an association who deals with insurance (or can see a corollary to your own profession) and need some help thinking through what these new advancements mean for your members, let me know. I’m happy to help.