How can AI help natural disaster responses?


Experts from InsurTech Tractable recently explored the role of AI in responding to and preventing natural disasters, as well as the importance of empathy in customer communication.

In a recent podcast, Tractable’s Jimmy Spears, Brad Cowan, EVP for business development at Paul Davis, and Giacomo Mariotti, property lead at Tractable, discussed how AI can help with natural disaster response.

Firstly, natural disasters are on the rise. Cowan stressed that this is a highly pressing issue, “if you look back over the last 100 years, the number of natural disasters has increased tenfold.” Most of these are related to floods and storms, he added.

These are stretching the industry’s resources, yet companies are striving to be there for their customers at a critical time of need.

Further to this, Spears added that it is not only the frequency of disasters, but the severity of them that is rising. From an insurers perspective, this is what is driving the rates, he said.

However, Spears said AI has presented the industry with a way to better and more quickly respond, and in some instances, to prepare.

There is work being done using AI, he continued, that allows insurers to see where the intensity of the disaster will be, and this allows an insurance company to start to allocate resources to prepare.

Often, an insurance policy holder’s only interaction with their insurer will be when making a claim. In the case of a natural disaster, these are often seriously traumatic events for individuals as well as businesses.

Cowan said, “We work really hard to provide extraordinary care to people in their time of need. We have a lot of training around this around emotional intelligence to ensure our teams have the empathy to deal with this.”

When you’re dealing with a catastrophe, he continued, the key points are speed and communication.

Other questions the experts discussed were who needs to come to fix the problem and help a community get back on its feet, what role does AI and or any new technology play and what problems are they applied to, and how widely adopted these technologies are.

The podcast was part of Tractable’s Inside AI series which explores business opportunities within artificial intelligence through conversations with those who know the industry best.

You can find the full podcast discussion here.

Earlier this month Tractable partnered with The UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), to bring the speed and accuracy of artificial intelligence (AI) to disaster recovery in Fiji.

The partnership will see the InsurTech work with UNCDF’s Pacific Insurance and Climate Adaptation Programme (PICAP) to help verify insurance claims, in an effort to speed up claim settlements.

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