Published on: 
November 29, 2023

RIP Data Extraction. All Hail AI Data Summarization

5 min read

Insurance underwriting isn’t for the weak. It’s a dizzyingly complex undertaking that requires connecting data points across disparate sources to support consequential decisions—all while meeting modern expectations for speed, accuracy, and compliance. 

The role has grown exponentially more challenging as technology has become more ubiquitous, stretching our information-rich digital trails ever longer.

Over the past two decades, various vendors have developed Intelligent Data Processing (IDP) tools to manage all this information by automating the extraction, ingestion, and structuring of data at scale. These tools have been widely adopted by carriers, but fall short of today’s mounting data challenges–in fact, they’re exasperating them.

McKinsey estimates that underwriters spend 30-to-40% of their time on rote administrative tasks “such as rekeying data or manually executing analysis.” These were the types of tasks that IDPs were supposed to automate and make more efficient—but that’s not what’s happening. In a recent Accenture survey, 64% of underwriters reported that today’s tech either makes no difference or increases their workload. 

Automated data extraction was, until recently, the only way to tame the information deluge. New technologies have paved the way for a better, more seamless approach. Emerging LLM-powered AI represents a new paradigm that eliminates extraction chokepoints, reduces the burden on overtaxed underwriters, and accelerates decisioning.

Generative AI in insurance changes everything

Traditional IDPs were designed to exhaustively extract every piece of data–no matter how irrelevant or repetitive—so that it can be structured into a centralized database and passed along to overloaded human underwriters to query and scrutinize. The more complex and document-laden a process (e.g., loss run reports with intricate hierarchical ordering of nested sets), the more odious the inefficiencies and the more work tossed onto underwriters’ plates.

Insurance solutions touting the “most efficient” or “fastest” data extraction are about as meaningful in 2023 as boasting the “highest print-quality” fax machine. Comprehensive extraction is a relic of a fading technological paradigm. The industry is rightly turning to next-gen AI technologies to free underwriters from repetitive data work (which is better handled by machines anyway) so they can focus on building value and closing deals. 

Sixfold uses state-of-the-art LLMs to synthesize information across multiple sources and generate summaries in plain language for underwriter review. No processing power is misspent on redundant extraction; underwriters’ valuable time is no longer wasted sorting through virtual buckets of well-structured (but context-free) data. 

When processing a life insurance application, traditional IDPs will, for example, extract each mention of the applicant having diabetes, even if it appears across dozens of documents. Unlike AI-powered platforms, IDPs are incapable of discerning meaning from data—underwriters are still required to connect the dots. Sixfold skips the needless chronicling of data points and independently generates clear summations of relevant throughlines (e.g., “The applicant was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes 12 years ago and it’s being properly managed with insulin and diet”), thus freeing underwriters to forgo the data work and render decisions faster.

Sixfold brings the power of advanced AI to insurance underwriting

In effect, Sixfold provides underwriters with a virtual army of researchers, data processors, and writers who know precisely what information is needed to render decisions quickly (and just as importantly, what isn’t). 

It’s already having a huge impact. With Sixfold, companies are accelerating submission-to-quote cycles by as much as 43%, clearing backlogged queues, and massively increasing GWP per underwriter. 

Even better? It’s far easier to get up and running with Sixfold than a traditional IDP. These older systems required huge investments in time and resources to train their ML models on an organization’s unique needs. Sixfold, on the other hand, can be easily—and quickly—configured to match the appetite and needs of specific carriers and programs. It’s more-or-less ready to go out-of-the-box (or out of the virtual SaaS box).

AI is reshaping insurance before our eyes

The marketplace is littered with the remnants of corporate behemoths that misread the technological tea leaves—and in today’s world, giants fall fast. Consider how, in just one decade, Yahoo slid from the world’s most popular website to near-irrelevance. Or how Kodak only took eight years to complete its journey from top-five global brand to ejection from the Dow Jones. Or how, in a mere six years, Blockbuster leaped from its 9,000-plus-location peak into bankruptcy. 

The downfall of huge corporations highlights the consequences of misjudging technological trends in today's marketplace.

The takeaway: Past performance will not save you. New technological paradigms can seemingly come out of nowhere to reward leaders who had an eye on the future—and expose those who didn’t.

I’m confident that this year will be remembered as an inflection point for generative AI. The way insurance is handled moving forward will be a radical departure from the past. There’s now a clear industry-wide divide between those pursuing iteration and those seeking transformation. Which side do you want to be on?

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Alex Schmelkin
Co-founder & CEO, Sixfold