QBE Invests in, Links With, Machine Learning InsurTech Startup RiskGenius

QBE has signed a multi-year commercial use agreement with RiskGenius, a machine learning company that helps carriers, brokers and regulators analyze policy and endorsement language and aid in product development. The deal comes as the Australian insurer’s venture arm closed its first investment in the company.

Earlier this year, QBE launched QBE Ventures, with plans to have the unit invest $50 million partnering with early-stage companies whose technology could be used by the insurer. The QBE/Risk Genius investment and agreement represents the first partnership under this program.

QBE North America will be the first division to use the RiskGenius platform, and plans are in place to upload over 125,000 policy documents into RiskGenius in 2018. The technology will be place across all of QBE North America’s business units during the 2018 first half.

Bob James, group head of Transformation for QBE, said that QBE North America has so far completed a proof-of-concept of the RiskGenius Platform. The technology, he said in prepared remarks, produced “great results leveraging the company’s proprietary machine learning platform to compare policies as part of our product development process.”

James added he sees RiskGenius helping QBE’s underwriters better match policy language to meet the needs of its customers and changing exposures. The technology, over time, will improve its speed-to-market for new products and also give the company new insights into its policies and streamline the policy review process, James added.

Partnering With InsurTechs

Chris Cheatham, CEO of RiskGenius, said in prepared remarks that his is happy QBE will be focusing on data and analytics when partnering with InsurTechs like RiskGenius.

“The two parties are aligned in our vision for RiskGenius to become a utility, a standard, for insurance professionals looking to evaluate insurance policy language,” he said. “That’s exciting.”

In an apparent anticipation of the RiskGenius deal, QBE NA CEO Russ Johnston said recently that QBE ventures has narrowed a field of 200 companies evaluated at the beginning of 2017 down to 40, and that number has in turn been reduced to 20 after the 40 candidates for investment submitted to interviews. Ultimately winnowing that down for four, Johnston reported that QBE would officially announce an equity and a partnership by the end of the year.

Cheatham is also the co-founder and CEO of ClaimKit, a startup developing software to help make claim professionals pursue their jobs more efficiently.

In a recent Carrier Management interview, Cheatham, a former claim insurance attorney, said he sees machine learning helping insurance professionals across the board more easily review and break down insurance policies into categorized clauses.

QBE has focused on other outside partnerships in recent months designed to boost its efficiency through technology. In June, Arrowhead General Insurance Agency was selected as the program administrator for QBE North America’s small commercial insurance program. The deal allows QBE to rely on Arrowhead for the technology to manage its small commercial business in an arrangement. Participating parties told Insurance Journal that the agreement served as an alternative to carriers having to invest more in their legacy technologies or rely on InsurTech developments.

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