Ant Financial

If you have ever been in a car crash, the rush of emotions can be quite overwhelming. After assessing the damage to our bodies, the first thing that comes to the mind, is the car. Getting the required funds for the exterior vehicle damage from the insurance company can take weeks, and in some unlucky cases, even months. However, an Artificial Intelligence (AI) system developed by Ant Financial system in China might just come to the rescue.

Researchers in Ant Financial system in China have developed an algorithm which can assess exterior vehicle damage in seconds. This image recognition system will enable the vehicle insurance companies to respond more swiftly to claims and also reassure their customers of a standardized neutral damage assessment system, free from the biases and flaws of human errors.

In 2017, German car manufacturer Volkswagen was ordered by the US and the State of California court to spend up to $14.7 billion to settle allegations of cheating emissions tests and deceiving customers for faulty airbags which failed many car safety tests. The personal automobile line of insurance is among the best known product types in the US as vehicle insurance is compulsory in most of the states. The total personal automobile insurance premiums earned in the US (which accounts for about 35% of the total property and casualty insurance premiums in the country) stood at about $186 billion in 2014. If the AI system were to make its way to American shores it would surely save insurers a significant amount of time and money.

The Ant Financial system is already offering the AI damage-assessment system to insurers, but they are working to make the systems available to car owners by the end of the year. The cumbersome guilt-ridden trip to the repair car garage to fix the car is sought to be replaced by a ‘take out your smartphone, click a picture and send it to your insurer’ scenario. The AI system would be able to assess the extent of the vehicle damage, list the cost of repair and guide the car owner to nearby shops to get their cars fixed.

This system gives an idea of the many breakthroughs that the Ant Financial company has been producing. It already runs a largely successful smartphone payments business in China and has been eyeing markets across Asia. The company was created in 2014 by ‘Alibaba group’ to operate Alipay which has revolutionized the way that payments across China are being made. Ant Financial has also invested about $1 billion in PayTM, an Indian digital payment company.

While AI is already making huge inroads in the automotive landing with self-driving cars, this latest move by Ant Financial to bring AI to the Chinese car insurance industry will have huge repercussions throughout the global car insurance marketplace. Slowly but surely the notion of needing a human to assess vehicle damage or a representative from a car agency will fade into oblivion. The next time you hit your bumper, make sure you click a picture of it. Just in case.

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