The insurance industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity is driven by digitalization, personalization, and growing importance of technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of Things, and cybersecurity in insurance documentation and data analytics, predictive risk assessment, fraud detection, and smart policy management. In the last three years alone, there have been over 17,000 patents filed and granted in the insurance industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Artificial intelligence in insurance: AI-assisted underwriting. 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 stabilizing 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.

20+ 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 70,000 patents, there are 20+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.

Within the emerging innovation stage, underwriting AI, predictive risk analysis, and insurance documentation AI are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Insurance fraud detection AI, smart policy management, and smart vehicle damage assessment are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas is automated weather forecasting, which is now well established in the industry.

Innovation S-curve for artificial intelligence in the insurance industry

Underwriting AI is a key innovation area in artificial intelligence

Underwriting AI refers to the use of artificial intelligence and data processing techniques by insurers to facilitate and ease the underwriting process. It involves analyzing and modeling data to assess risks, determine insurance premiums, and make informed decisions regarding policy approvals or rejections. By leveraging advanced algorithms and machine learning, underwriting AI enhances accuracy, efficiency, and automation in the underwriting process.

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 330+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established insurance companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of underwriting AI.

Key players in underwriting AI – a disruptive innovation in the insurance industry

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

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

Patent volumes related to underwriting AI

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Ping An Insurance (Group) 598 Unlock Company Profile
State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance 228 Unlock Company Profile
Alibaba Group 181 Unlock Company Profile
Taikang Insurance Group 157 Unlock Company Profile
The Allstate 115 Unlock Company Profile
Cox Enterprises 92 Unlock Company Profile
INRIX 88 Unlock Company Profile
Advanced New Technologies 81 Unlock Company Profile
The Hartford Financial Services Group 78 Unlock Company Profile
International Business Machines 61 Unlock Company Profile
LyondellBasell Industries 55 Unlock Company Profile
Expanse Bioinformatics 52 Unlock Company Profile
Ant Group 47 Unlock Company Profile
Tractable 47 Unlock Company Profile
China Investment 43 Unlock Company Profile
Pictometry International 42 Unlock Company Profile
China Life Insurance (Group) 32 Unlock Company Profile
Sony Group 31 Unlock Company Profile
Apogee Technology 31 Unlock Company Profile
The Travelers 30 Unlock Company Profile
KBC Group 28 Unlock Company Profile
Accenture 28 Unlock Company Profile
23andMe 27 Unlock Company Profile
Taikang Pension Insurance 27 Unlock Company Profile
Flex 24 Unlock Company Profile
UnitedHealth Group 23 Unlock Company Profile
Black Hills IP 23 Unlock Company Profile
eBay 23 Unlock Company Profile
Baidu 19 Unlock Company Profile
Yembo 19 Unlock Company Profile
China Ping An Property and Casualty 19 Unlock Company Profile
Swiss Re Asia Pacific 17 Unlock Company Profile
The Toronto-Dominion Bank 16 Unlock Company Profile
Swiss Re 15 Unlock Company Profile
Hitachi 15 Unlock Company Profile
Healthy io 15 Unlock Company Profile
General Motors 14 Unlock Company Profile
Theator 14 Unlock Company Profile
Aon 14 Unlock Company Profile
Capital One Financial 14 Unlock Company Profile
Sunshine Insurance Group 13 Unlock Company Profile
The People's Insurance (Group) 13 Unlock Company Profile
American Well 13 Unlock Company Profile
Assurant 12 Unlock Company Profile
Cerebri AI 12 Unlock Company Profile
Vista Equity Partners 12 Unlock Company Profile
USAA 12 Unlock Company Profile
Guidewire Software 11 Unlock Company Profile
Owl Cameras 11 Unlock Company Profile
Sensata Technologies 11 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Ping An Insurance (Group) is one of the leading patent filers in underwriting AI. It has been at the forefront in utilizing advanced technologies such as AI, cloud, and big data to drive operational efficiencies, improve underwriting and claims management procedures, and minimize security risks. Ping An OneConnect is an AI-powered service platform for insurance companies to access and analyze large amounts of data from multiple sources quickly and accurately, and optimize risk control in underwriting and claim settlement.

State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance, Alibaba Group, and Taikang Insurance Group are some of the other leading innovators in underwriting AI.

In terms of application diversity, Theator held the top position, while INRIX and Healthy io stood in second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, Expanse Bioinformatics leads the pack, followed by Tractable and INRIX.

To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the insurance industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Artificial Intelligence (AI) in 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.