Best's Review



The Rise of the Super Underwriter

Datacubes’ Alampi: Technology like artificial intelligence is elevating the role of the underwriter.
  • Kate Smith
  • October 2019
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Phil Alampi, vice president, customer engagement, Datacubes, said artificial intelligence and access to a wider range of data mean underwriters are being freed from manual work and can concentrate on higher level functions that should increase their effectiveness. Alampi spoke with AMBestTV at the Insurance Accounting & Systems Association 2019 conference, in Phoenix.

How is AI being used in insurance?

Phi lAlampi

Phil Alampi

In commercial P/C insurance, carriers today are leveraging AI to automate the decision-making part of the underwriting process which was formerly a very manual intensive time-consuming process that AI and third-party data can make happen in a much more rapid, more dependable fashion. 

Is computer vision related to this?

Computer vision is a family within the AI group where you recognize documents and scans based on the actual bits decomposed from the writing or from typing.  

How is it used in the insurance process?

It's very helpful in underwriting in the commercial context when you have a submission coming in. Today, usually agents email in a submission with things like Acord forms, loss histories and other documents attached to it. The carrier can use computer vision to extract all the information from those attachments and digitize them and pull out the insights they need in order to finish the underwriting process. 

How much has AI penetrated the industry?

I would say we're still in the early phase of adoption, but I see signs that the majority of the market is going to move in this direction in the next three years or so.

What's on the horizon for AI?

As you automate more decision-making on the underwriting side, I think that opens up possibilities for different customer experiences, things that maybe weren't as possible before, like providing just a business name and address or just a business name and phone number. That can be done through a variety of different interfaces. Things like chatbots, things like being able to get quotes near real time or in real time.  

Does that change the underwriter's role?

Absolutely. Instead of spending their time on all these administrative tasks, of having to type in information, read through documents, print things out, deal with faxes in some cases, they're spending their time making judgment calls where their talent is required—like managing relationships with agents and balancing priorities across many different areas of underwriting. It turns them into super underwriters and lets them do way more work with the same amount of time and the same size staff.

Kate Smith is managing editor of Best’s Review. She can be reached at

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