The Japanese insurance company Fukoku Mutual Life Insurance plans to replace one third of its 131 damage assessment department employees with an AI system based on IBM Watson.
The artificial intelligence is intended to evaluate prescriptions, medical records, and data regarding, for example, the duration of hospital stays and thus calculate the amount of due payments. It should be able to take account of individual clauses in the insurance contracts. According to the Mainichi , this includes about 132,000 bills as incurred in the 2015 fiscal year. The final decision on the amount of a given payment should always lie with the remaining employees, however; the use of AI is only meant to increase the efficiency of the preparatory work.
The insurance company expects costs of about 200 million yen (about 1.6 million euros) for setting up the machine, in addition to annual operating costs of about 15 million yen (about 120,000 euros). In contrast, the savings in personnel costs are expected to amount to about 140 million yen (about 1.1 million euros).
Fukoku is not the first Japanese insurance company to rely on an AI system. Competitors such as Dai-ichi Life Insurance or Nippon Life Insurance are however not known to have dismissed any employees as a result.