Swiss Re has announced that its Beijing arm has teamed up with online lender WeBank to research the potential use of new artificial intelligence (AI) powered models in reinsurance business.

WeBank, owned by Chinese investment firm Tencent, signed an MoU with Swiss Re to collaborate on federated learning, a new encrypted and distributed machine learning approach.

The federated learning will support training for joint machine learning on decentralised data wherein no data transmission is needed for participants.

Pursuant to the terms of the collaboration, Swiss Re and WeBank will collectively work to discover how federated learning can help deal with the efficiency challenges imposed by data silos.

WeBank’s AI team has already developed an industrial-level open-source technical framework known as “Federated AI Technology Enabler (FATE)”.

The company has also created Federated Learning standards (IEEE standard) to promote interdisciplinary and intercompany cooperation for the federated AI ecosystem across industries.

Both the partners noted that the collaboration will build a foundation for new business supported by federated learning. It will enable the reinsurance industry to adopt and apply new framework to improve their technological capabilities.

Swiss Re China president John Chen said: “As a leading international reinsurance company, Swiss Re has accumulated 155 years of experience in risk management and data analysis. Our cooperation with WeBank is undoubtedly an innovative partnership in the area of Federated Learning, a specialised field in AI.

“I believe our strong partnership will greatly accelerate the development of the data sharing and data utilisation, and contribute to the upgrade of the pricing model as well as the innovation of products and services.”

WeBank CAIO Yang Qiang said: “We are pleased with the cooperation between WeBank and Swiss Re. With a global perspective and an abundant accumulation of business scenarios, Swiss Re can offer new insights for the research and application of Federated Learning. We hope that the two sides can leverage on their respective strengths in building a federated ecosystem for the reinsurance industry.”