RiskGenius Blog

Insights into our world of Insurance & Technology.

Why Insurance Needs Search Engines...And Doesn't Even Realize It

by Chris Cheatham | Sep 09, 2016 | Technology, Riskgenius


How many times have you spent a significant percentage of your day searching your company’s database for one small, yet critical piece of information? How many times have you been hours into a cumbersome search and thought, “Does it truly have to be this hard?”

Remember Life Before Google? Lycos, Anyone?

Back in the Wild West years of the Internet, a few search engines emerged to help us all navigate Al Gore’s world wide web (slowly and surely via dial-up connections). There was Lycos. There was AskJeeves. There was Alta Vista, eventually assimilated into the Borg we know as Yahoo.

Why aren’t we firing up Lycos on our iPhones these days to resolve arguments over trivia at dinner? Because Google came in and transformed the search engine game by taking an entirely new approach.

Lycos, Alta Vista and all the others were doing keyword searches, one-to-one matches of the cleverly devised keyword you typed in with the same word on webpages within their databases – verbatim. Rank was only based on how many times a webpage used that particular word, which means a lot of webpages – potentially relevant pages – got left off or were inefficiently far down the list.

Google, however, abandoned the linear, matching philosophy toward search and instead crawled its databases with an algorithm named PageRank that analyzed the relationships between the pages (based on links) and delivered search results that were ranked by the relevancy or authority of the information, thus providing the most useful information possible to users.

The Google model eventually took a step further by utilizing machine learning (RankBrain) to more rapidly process results and deliver even more relevant information to the user. RankBrain is a structural element to the Google algorithm and frees it from relying on programming or human direction to determine what is relevant. The algorithm now teaches itself how and why people search, learning how to anticipate and respond to search with the exact information desired.

What if this same functionality was available for insurance information? That would be Genius.

I’ve been playing around with Genius Search the last few weeks, even sneaking it into my demonstrations with prospective customers. While this makes my sales and tech teams nervous, it allows me to have conversations with insurance professionals about how this feature can work for existing workflows – and to watch their eyes light up as I tell them exactly how it will make their lives easier.

Think of Genius Search as a Google-like Search Engine for insurance policies.

Up to now, most insurance searches have been using functionality similar to that of Lycos and Alta Vista, searching based on exact or fuzzy keyword match. Genius Search allows insurance companies to conduct more complex and detailed searches of information housed in their expansive databases, leveraging machine learning to determine which information is substantively related – and most relevant to what’s being searched.

Genius Search can identify policies and clauses accepted by a carrier.

Let’s assume you are an insurance broker and you are working to insure a company that wants to deploy drones that monitor school sites and identify students leaving the school during normal hours.

The insurance broker has never worked with a company that deploys drones. How does that broker find the right insurance policy? Thankfully, the insurance brokerage has been uploading insurance policies to RiskGenius for over a year. The insurance broker uses Genius Search to search for “drone coverage that includes school zones.” And voila, the broker pulls up all of the most relevant clauses to this search and can get started.

Even though there is no policy in the system that says “drone coverage that includes school zones,” Genius Search’s functionality knows what you mean and delivers the relevant information.

Genius Search can research clauses to propose to a carrier.

Let’s stick with the drone example. Unfortunately, the insurance broker can’t locate an insurance policy that explicitly covers the use of drones in a school zone. The broker is going to have to roll up his sleeves and manuscript language for a new policy.

Still unwilling to start from scratch, the insurance broker opens up Genius Search for inspiration. He thinks to himself, “Hmm, what is similar to a school zone? I got it, a war zone!” The insurance broker searches for “war zone and insurance for drones”: five results. The insurance broker then uses the language to craft a new clause that covers drone use in school zones. Magic!

Genius Search can eliminate manuscripting by finding the most similar clause in a carrier library.

A slight variation on the drone school zone example demonstrates the power of Genius Search for insurance carriers.

Unfortunately for insurance broker, he does not have access to Genius Search. Instead, he emails an underwriter and asks simply, “Please, sir, how do I cover drone usage in a school zone?”

The normal underwriter might have to manuscript a new endorsement to cover drones and school zones. But we aren’t dealing with any old underwriter -- we are dealing with a Genius Underwriter.

Thankfully, the insurance carrier’s top brass had the foresight to upload all of their insurance policies to RiskGenius. Genius Underwriter simply runs a Genius Search for “drone and school zone.” Instantly, he is able to identify an endorsement that he did not know existed that already has been approved and covers drones and school zones. No need for dangerous manuscripting!

Risk Genius can locate similar clauses to a problematic clause identified in claims.

Now let’s get really crazy! The claims department just finished up litigating a $100 million claim. And the loss turned on one insurance clause that -- wait for it -- allowed for drone flights over school zones. Ouch. Now the insurance carrier top brass wants to find all clauses that create drone coverage for specialty situations.

For a normal insurance carrier, finding these types of policies could literally take months or years. But because we are dealing with a Genius Insurance Carrier, an underwriter simply runs a Genius Search for “drone coverage covering war zones, school zones or some other type of zone.”

Instantly, 562 clauses are returned that cover these topics. Does reviewing 562 clauses and policies sound like a lot? Imagine if you didn’t have Genius Search; imagine if you have to review 50,000+ policies. That’s not Genius.

So, if you want to see the power of an insurnace policy search engine, please let us know. This will be ubiquitous technology. Either submit comment, contact us or just email me (chris@riskgenius.com). 

Peace out, geniuses.