January 28, 2019

Harry, Bert and Lenny: Insurer AXA’s admin AI bots

By Priya Kantaria

Three artificial intelligence bots named Harry, Bert and Lenny have been deployed at insurance company AXA and will save employees 18,000 hours of repetitive work each year.

Harry was rolled out in June 2018 and Bert and Lenny joined him at the end of the year, and a fourth bot named Como is joining the team soon.

The bots are designed to carry our repetitive administrative tasks, like reading customer correspondence and pairing it with the necessary claim records.

While this task takes human staff around four minutes to complete, it takes Harry less than 42 seconds.

Harry operates in the customer property claims team, Bert works in commercial property and Lenny in liability.

Crucially, the bots have been welcomed by employees and have not meant any job cuts or losses.

Instead, the bots are designed to enable staff to concentrate on the more analytical work that needs a human touch.

“We are delighted to welcome Harry, Bert and Lenny to our admin teams and are pleased that their hard work is freeing up our human workforce to tackle more interesting analytical tasks,” said Waseem Malik, executive managing director of Claims, AXA UK.

“The bots have been warmly received by their new colleagues and we are already looking at new tasks for them to take on, as well as other areas of the business where we might employ similar AI.”

Harry, Bert and Lenny are expected to take up more tasks during 2019.

Human versus machine

Many workers and office staff worry about automation replacing them, but recruiter ManpowerGroup found that nine in ten employers are planning to increase their headcount for the third year in a row because of automation.

Although some jobs are being automated, other roles need to be fulfilled by people to keep those systems running smoothly.

For example, 16% of companies are expected to increase their IT teams, and front-of-house and customer-facing roles will also increase because an AI bot could not provide the right level of communication, negotiation, leadership or adaptability here.

“This is not an either/or, human versus machine,” said Jonas Prising, chairman and chief executive officer of ManpowerGroup. “I’m convinced: organisations and individuals really can befriend the machines and collaborate in harmony to create a stronger, better society.

“The focus on robots eliminating jobs is distracting us from the real issue. More and more robots are being added to the workforce, but humans are too. Tech is here to stay and it’s our responsibility as leaders to become chief learning officers and work out how we integrate humans with machines.”

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