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 Amir Cohen, co-founder and CTO of Planck, 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 Planck? Why and how did you begin?
AC: Before launching Planck, I was part of a data mining startup that was acquired by Salesforce. After the acquisition, our platform served as the base technology for Salesforce Einstein, their artificial intelligence (AI) technology stack. Elad’s (Elad Tsur, co-founder of Planck) deep understanding of the insurance world and my passion to solve huge problems through technology led us to build Planck. We identified a huge opportunity to meet the data needs of the insurance market with data from the open web. The rest is history.
We decided to use artificial intelligence and machine learning, not only to aggregate all the possible data points about any business in the world, but also to use AI models to extract valuable information and create the actual truth about business aspects that are relevant to insurers. In other words, we are mining the smallest bits of data out there about businesses to create true, actionable insurance insights. This is also why we called our company Planck, after the scientist Max Planck. Planck’s Constant is basically the resolution of the universe — the size of the “pixels” that create our world.
2. Please describe your use case and how Planck uses artificial intelligence.
AC: Planck serves the commercial insurance market and, more specifically, small to medium-sized businesses within the commercial business line. Given just a business name and address, we use artificial intelligence through the entire insight creation process. That includes identity matching through the collection process to ensure we only gather relevant data about the business in question. Then, in order to extract valuable information out of the data pieces, we use several types of AI, including image and video processing, anomaly detection algorithms, natural language processing and others. That allows us to analyze any type of data, from selfies and videos to geographical information and other public records. Finally, in order to create accurate insights, we use trained deep-learning algorithms to deduce the actual truth about the business.
Accurate data insights help insurance companies succeed with their innovative digital initiatives, increase sales and efficiency, and reduce loss ratios.
3. Could you share a specific customer/user that benefits from what you offer? What has Planck done for them?
AC: Our partnership with Berkshire Hathaway GUARD Insurance Companies allows the company to expedite its digital underwriting initiatives for its small and medium business segment. The insights provided by Planck allow GUARD’s underwriters to focus on quoting and underwriting the right risks, rather than spending time finding, gathering, cleansing and organizing data. In other cases, our platform is being used for pre-fill and digital underwriting purposes, dramatically saving agents’ and customers’ time filling out endless submission forms and increasing the data accuracy and submission-to-bind ratios.
4. What other AI use cases in Insurance are you excited about?
AC: Chatbots are being built to offer an efficient and low-cost substitute for agents in the future. However, training a chatbot to understand all the insurance complexities and the customers’ known and unknown needs is a hard task. In a good scenario, it results in potential customers abandoning the chatbot and connecting with their agents. The worst-case scenario results in under-insured customers.
Chatbots are, ultimately, another form of user interface designed to provide a better user experience. Hence, aside from the AI involved in building a chatbot that actually understands people, it would require other layers of AI to simplify the process, just like other insurance-related processes. Eventually, whatever form of interaction with a customer, given just a business and address, the insurance companies will be able to provide the perfect coverage at the optimized price.
5. Where will Planck be in five years?
AC: After continuous expansion within the commercial insurance space and positioning the company as a market leader for providing underwriting insights, there are many other verticals that accurate insights about any business in the world can be useful for, from know-your-customer processes, financial risk assessments, business intelligence and so on. It’s hard to say which vertical we will tackle next, as there’s still huge growth potential within the insurance world.