This interview is part of our new AI in Insurance series, where we interview the world's top thought leaders on the front lines of the intersections between AI and insurance.
In this interview, we speak with Lance Miller, co-founder and CEO of Surex, to understand how his company is using AI to transform insurance, and what the future of the insurance industry holds.
1. What's the story behind Surex? Why and how did you begin?
LM: Surex is Canada’s fastest-growing online insurance marketplace. We work with several insurance providers so that they can have transparency in pricing. We offer a marketplace of products, and objective brokers ultimately give the buying and decision-making power back to consumers. Very few players are currently executing this model in Canada or the United States. Each customer is matched to a dedicated insurance assistant, with whom the customer can work with directly for all of their insurance coverage needs.
I and my fellow co-founder Matt Alston owned brick and mortar insurance brokerages in nearby small towns in Canada. In 2005, the Canadian Banking Act was being restructured, and major financial institutions were looking to enter the insurance industry. We wondered why consumers would want to purchase insurance from banks, and surmised that it was because the massive organizations had the tools and resources to provide a good customer experience. We sought to do better by providing an exceptional experience to our customers.
While the initial plan was to expand the business by acquiring other brick and mortar brokerages, we soon saw the tremendous opportunity to become an online insurance provider. Surex launched its beta site in 2012.
2. Please describe your use case and how Surex uses artificial intelligence:
LM: Surex was a finalist for a 2019 Insurance Canada Technology Award (ICTA) for our artificial intelligence system for document processing.
Around 40 percent of all billing tickets are now created automatically, including initial contact with the customer in most cases, by the intelligent system. Intelligent automation is also allowing Surex’s audit team to check policies up to 50 percent faster. This is especially instrumental in getting the most out of our behind-the-scenes teams when it comes to auto policy renewals. The technology behind Surexis all developed internally.
3. Could you share a specific customer/user that benefits from what you offer? What has Surex done for them?
LM: The document processing solution has increased our billing team’s productivity by over 25 percent. As the fastest growing insurance company in Canada, this AI advancement has been essential to keeping up our rapid growth.
The intelligent software learns from staff members’ decisions. Our team has created their own algorithms and techniques that allow their system to autonomously adapt to change. In an industry where policies, standards & regulations are always in flux, this is a massive advantage to have.
These increases in efficiency have also allowed us to redirect some of our hiring dollars from support roles to broker roles. As one of the fastest-growing companies in the country, we need to allocate resources strategically and make sure we are getting the most out of every department.
About Sam Mire
Sam is a Market Research Analyst at Disruptor Daily. He's a trained journalist with experience in the field of disruptive technology. He’s versed in the impact that blockchain technology is having on industries of today, from healthcare to cannabis. He’s written extensively on the individuals and companies shaping the future of tech, working directly with many of them to advance their vision. Sam is known for writing work that brings value to industry professionals and the generally curious – as well as an occasional smile to the face.