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AI is making Japanese insurance workers redundant

A Japanese insurance company has announced that it will cut over 30 employees as a result of a shift to artificial intelligence (AI).

Fukoku Mutual Life Insurance would be slashing staff in its payment assessment department as a result of introducing an AI system this month, The Mainichi daily reported.

The AI system is based on IBM’s Watson platform and will sift through medical histories, hospital trips and surgical procedure names. The system will also be reading medical certificates issued by doctors. Ultimately, all of this information will be used to determine payouts, with the AI also able to check for special coverage clauses.

There’s a big fear over job losses as a result of AI, with Japan’s insurance sector seeing a big casualty at Fukoku Mutual

The system won’t be the ultimate decision-maker when it comes to payouts just yet, as human staff will still make the final call for now.

34 people are set to be made redundant by March, saving the firm roughly 140 million yen annually. The system will cost 200 million yen to install, followed by maintenance costs of 15 million yen a year.

The publication notes that several insurance firms in the country have already adopted AI systems, being used to determine the best plan for customers and processing assessments.

Featured image: Pictures of Money via Flickr

Author | Hadlee Simons

Hadlee Simons
Terrible puns make Hadlee Simons difficult to work with, but he brings over seven years of tech journalism experience to the table. When he's not at work or watching motorsport, he's in the foetal position on a jiu jitsu mat. More

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