School of Business and Economics

Research

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TECHNGI (Technology Driven Change and Next Generation Insurance Value Chains)


Co-Principal Investigator: Alistair Milne, Professor of Financial Economics

Co-Principal Investigator: Chris Holland, Professor of Information Management

Technology Driven Change and Next Generation Insurance Value Chains (TECHNGI)

  • Funded Value: £996,073
  • Funded Period: December 2018 - March 2021
  • Funder: ESRC
  • Project Leaders: Loughborough University, Queen Mary University of London, University of Exeter

Services account for almost 80% of the UK economy, with financial and professional services alone employing around 2.2 million people and valued at £190 billion. New technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain and big data analytics, combined with new business models, are disruptive for the economy. This is particularly true for the financial industry, an industry that is expanding to and from other industries. InsureTech (insurance technology) is one sub-industry that attracts a lot of attention, because the technologies above are able to create new business opportunities and value-added for consumers, thus having the potential to boost economic growth.  

Earlier this year, UKRI asked academics to propose a research project to map the future of tech-driven legal and financial services, to boost productivity and improve customer experience. The Next-Generation Services Challenge was seeking to take on the biggest industrial and societal challenges of our time. Loughborough University’s SBE team, led by Professors Milne and Holland, proposed a research project called ‘Technological Change and Next Generation Insurance Services’, a collaborative research project between industry and academia, that secured over £1.2 Million from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and an additional £210,000 from a number of key players in the current insurance industry, and those that have aspirations to expand towards this industry.

an illustration of a house made up of IT icons

The team will identify and map the opportunities for AI-based innovation in the UK insurance industry. They will examine how these technologies are changing business processes and business models in underwriting and risk analytics, claims processing and in customer engagement, examining the barriers to adoption and the enablers of change.

Traditionally, if one can assign ‘tradition’ to a young industry such as fintech, most UK Research Council funds for fintech go to the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), rather than the ESRC, so in that respect, this project is quite novel with its emphasis. Although led by social scientists, it is an interdisciplinary (IDR) project, bringing together tech companies, manufacturers and academics from Computer Science.

 

  • Alistair Milne, Co-Principal Investigator, School of Business and Economics, Loughborough University
  • Chris Holland, Co-Principal Investigator, School of Business and Economics, Loughborough University
  • Melanie King, Co-I - Management, Wolfson School, Loughborough University
  • Rahul Kumar, Co-Investigator, School of Business and Economics, Loughborough University
  • Tzameret Rubin, Co-Investigator, School of Business and Economics, Loughborough University    
  • Ian Herbert, Co-Investigator, School of Business and Economics, Loughborough University
  • John Hillier, Co-Investigator, Geography, Loughborough University
  • Peter Kawalek, Co-Investigator, School of Business and Economics, Loughborough University
  • Roger Maull, Co-Investigator, University of Exeter            
  • Joe Watson, Co-Investigator, School of Business and Economics, Loughborough University              
  • Alex Zarifis, Research Associate, School of Business and Economics, Loughborough University         
  • Paul Timms, Research Associate, School of Business and Economics, Loughborough University         
  • Jackie Williams, Research Administrator, School of Business and Economics, Loughborough University   

The project will run over 27 months and will include three major phases:

  1. Providing a clear and comprehensive summary of the main opportunities from the application of AI in insurance.
  2. Developing empirically-tested models and analyses of what needs to be done to support the successful application and adoption of AI in the insurance industry (and of other data technologies such as machine learning, automated processing, expert systems, distributed ledgers and big data analytics.
  3. Creating tools and frameworks of knowledge that will allow practitioners and policy makers to best support the development and adoption of AI technologies.

Aligned with these three phases, the team will build not only accumulative knowledge in the form of academic outputs, but also tangible impact on all stakeholders in this industry - an impact that will hopefully have a ripple effect following the project’s conclusion.

WHO MIGHT BENEFIT FROM THIS RESEARCH?

Our research is designed for several different user groups: 

  • Staff working across the insurance value chain. Successful technology-based business innovation involves changes in both business process and business models and hence requires a combination of expertise: technological (AI and data science), business (responsible for engagement with customers and suppliers) and analytical (e.g., underwriting and risk pricing). Our research will directly support these staff by providing relevant knowledge and understanding.
  • Techinsur startups or in new competing technology based challengers, e.g., major internet platforms, who need understanding the insurance value chain and the potential for AI and data technologies. They will particularly benefit from our mapping and our detailed case studies. 
  • Senior management in the industry need to shape an appropriate strategic response to this new emerging landscape. Our integrative work packages together with our implementation frameworks are addressed to their needs.
  • Regulators, compliance officers and policy makers want to support these technological changes, and where possible use them to better achieve regulatory objectives such as customer protection at less cost to the industry.

HOW MIGHT THEY BENEFIT FROM THIS RESEARCH?

Business line and technology staff in UK insurance can gain insight into the organisational and business challenges arising from the application of AI to their products and business processes. They will be able to learn best practice and the factors for successful innovation from our case studies and research based empirical investigations. Risk analytics staff may also benefit from better understanding the opportunities for data-based improvements in risk modelling and underwriting.

Insuretech entrepreneurs can gain from a better understanding, especially from our case studies, of the business requirements for successful new technologies.

Senior management can also gain strategic insight, in particular into changing business models, into the possibilities for co-operative effort to develop standards and supporting technology and for negotiating the potentially transformative impact of technology on the industry as a whole.

Policy makers and line staff in regulatory bodies can benefit from improved understanding of insurance business models and how they are affected by technological change; on recommendations and opportunities for better alignment of regulations with the new technologies; on developing policies for regulation of new business products and technology supported business models; and from understanding and supporting opportunities for using technology to support regulatory compliance

We offer all of these different user groups practical options for promoting the application of AI and data technologies in the UK insurance industry, in the short to medium term at the level of specific business process and over the longer term by influencing the strategic and policy decisions that shape future business models and support industry transformation. 

Our research strategy, based on close engagement with our industry partners and co-production of research, provides assurance that our range of research outputs will be relevant to these targeted user groups and, if we do our job well, have the desired medium and long term impact on the future of the UK insurance industry.