Over the last decade, debates about innovation in financial services have been entertainingly erratic: failing incumbents are soon to be replaced by challenger banks, brokers, insurance companies and so on vs. startups are near-sighted, insignificant and ill-positioned to bring the incumbents down.
The truth is, of course, more nuanced. Thanks to their entrenched advantages (i.e. capital, regulatory experience and customers), incumbent financial institutions have largely avoided full-scale disruption. But, equally, they are failing to take advantage of most of the benefits of the digital revolution, so successfully exploited by digitally native startups.
While disruptive models garner lots of hype (often deserved), there is another category of startups seeking to enable incumbents to benefit significantly from emerging technology. They tackle boring, expensive problems which are often at the back-office, operational level. And many of them have become huge, listed companies.
The team at Omni:us is tackling a problem set dramatized in late 2016, when Fukoku Life deployed artificial intelligence to understand claims documents and respond to customers in place of humans. Way beyond OCR or HTR, this process involves understanding and reconciling text documents to make complex decisions.
Omni:us’ impressive background in hand-written text analysis and deep learning on a training data set of millions of documents from around the world, combined with its sector focus on insurance, is truly exciting for the industry!
Headquartered in Berlin, not far from the heartlands of Western Europe’s insurance operational bloat, the company offers a series of self-service modules to enable insurers to deal with claims, policy comparison, customer service and numerous other text-based tasks.
The company’s first product offering coincides with a trend of cost shift for insurers: from operations spending to IT spending. Increased IT spending is consistent across industries; but, in insurance, it signals a move toward customer-centricity and true data-driven decision-making.
Omni:us addresses both of these significant cost centers with a cloud-based solution to lighten both operations and IT constraints.
And, once we’ve solved some operational problems for insurers, imagine the magic we can do with the mountain of ambient data emerging from customer interactions. In this way, we can start to exploit the full power of AI in Insurtech, not only to smooth communications, but also to improve other parts of the value chain, like underwriting.
We’re delighted to support Sofie, Nischal, Martin, Harald and the whole Omni:us team in the journey to address underserved and important parts of the Insurtech value chain!