The insurance industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by growing demand for digitalisation and personalisation. With growing importance of technologies such as telematics, machine learning, big data, deep learning, and data science, insurers are overcoming demographic challenges, low penetration rates, cybercrimes and fraudulent claims. In the last three years alone, there have been over 11,000 patents filed and granted in the insurance industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Artificial intelligence in Insurance: AI-assisted inspection. Buy the report here.

However, not all innovations are equal and nor do they follow a constant upward trend. Instead, their evolution takes the form of an S-shaped curve that reflects their typical lifecycle from early emergence to accelerating adoption, before finally stabilising and reaching maturity.

Identifying where a particular innovation is on this journey, especially those that are in the emerging and accelerating stages, is essential for understanding their current level of adoption and the likely future trajectory and impact they will have.

90 innovations will shape the insurance industry

According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which plots the S-curve for the insurance industry using innovation intensity models built on over 65,000 patents, there are 90 innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.

Within the emerging innovation stage, AI-assisted underwriting and treatment expense prediction are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Vehicle motion estimation, vehicle forensic analysis, and AV insurance risk analysis are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas is driving skill evaluation, which is now well established in the industry.

Innovation S-curve for artificial intelligence in the insurance industry

AI-assisted inspection is a key innovation area in artificial intelligence

AI-powered visual inspection analyses machinery, production methods, stock levels, and workplaces using computer vision AI to ensure safety, efficiency, and productivity in business processes. The technology combines software and hardware that capture and process images to perform tasks such as automatic inspection to detect defects and missing parts and robot guidance to give autonomous robots visual feedback as they move around the working space.

GlobalData’s analysis also uncovers the companies at the forefront of each innovation area and assesses the potential reach and impact of their patenting activity across different applications and geographies. According to GlobalData, there are 30+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established insurance companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of AI-assisted inspection.

Key players in AI-assisted inspection – a disruptive innovation in the insurance industry

‘Application diversity’ measures the number of different applications identified for each relevant patent and broadly splits companies into either ‘niche’ or ‘diversified’ innovators.

‘Geographic reach’ refers to the number of different countries each relevant patent is registered in and reflects the breadth of geographic application intended, ranging from ‘global’ to ‘local’.

Patent volumes related to AI-assisted inspection

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
SoftBank Group 182 Unlock Company Profile
State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance 134 Unlock Company Profile
Ping An Insurance (Group) Company of China 90 Unlock Company Profile
Clearlake Capital Group 76 Unlock Company Profile
Alphabet 59 Unlock Company Profile
Tractable 23 Unlock Company Profile
Baidu 16 Unlock Company Profile
Lear 16 Unlock Company Profile
Mitchell International 15 Unlock Company Profile
Omron 15 Unlock Company Profile
USAA 14 Unlock Company Profile
Leonard Green & Partners 13 Unlock Company Profile
Taikang Insurance Group 13 Unlock Company Profile
Allstate 13 Unlock Company Profile
Cox Enterprises 12 Unlock Company Profile
NetraDyne 12 Unlock Company Profile
Hartford Financial Services Group 12 Unlock Company Profile
Toronto-Dominion Bank 11 Unlock Company Profile
Healthy io 11 Unlock Company Profile
American International Group (AIG) 11 Unlock Company Profile
Visa 11 Unlock Company Profile
Yembo 9 Unlock Company Profile
Donan Engineering 9 Unlock Company Profile
Vista Equity Partners 8 Unlock Company Profile
Nauto 8 Unlock Company Profile
International Business Machines 7 Unlock Company Profile
CoreLogic 7 Unlock Company Profile
ReviverMx 7 Unlock Company Profile
LyondellBasell Industries 6 Unlock Company Profile
Mitek Systems 6 Unlock Company Profile
Loveland Innovations 6 Unlock Company Profile
Conduent 6 Unlock Company Profile
Emergent Network Intelligence 6 Unlock Company Profile
Reynolds and Reynolds Company 6 Unlock Company Profile
MiTAC Holdings 5 Unlock Company Profile
Aon 5 Unlock Company Profile
Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation 5 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

SoftBank Group is one of the leading patent filers in identifying vehicle damaged components, server, client, and system. Their method includes creating an identifiable vehicle feature library. While taking a loss assessment photograph, a user can manually enclose a damaged location at the client. The server can recognise the vehicle features in the image, and using those attributes, it can calculate the relative position of the user-enclosed mark. The damaged component is identified, and the related position is further matched in the feature relation library. Some other key patent filers in AI for the insurance industry include State Farm Mutual, Ping An Insurance, Clearlake Capital Group,and Alphabet.

In terms of application diversity, Omron leads the pack, with Healthy io and ReviverMx in the second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, Alphabet holds the top position, followed by Vista Equity Partners and ReviverMx.

The leaders in developing technology providing drivers with real-time notifications and warnings about potential collisions for the cars of the future are the key players in the autonomous vehicle industry. However, when it comes to insurance, it will be the insurers, who develop data collection capabilities and integrate technologies such as AI and machine learning, that will be able to target customers more efficiently. To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the insurance industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Insurance.

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GlobalData, the leading provider of industry intelligence, provided the underlying data, research, and analysis used to produce this article.

GlobalData’s Patent Analytics tracks patent filings and grants from official offices around the world. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies across the world’s largest industries.