BusinessEconomic DevelopmentMorristown-Based Crum & Forster is Incorporating Generative AI for Everyday Innovation

Recently, about 20 invited guests gathered at Crum & Forster (C&F), an insurance firm in Morristown, to discuss how this company is exploring generative artificial intelligence (AI). The group was assembled as part of a “salon” put together by James Barrood, founder and CEO of  Innovation+, a curated global community of 10,000 or more entrepreneurs and innovators.

At the beginning of the meeting, the participants gathered around a boardroom table to discuss their own experiments with generative AI software tools, such as ChatGPT, for both business and personal uses. Almost all the attendees had tried generative AI, and several were using it in working applications.

C&F is a specialty insurance underwriter, and over the years company executives have experimented with new technologies to make the company more productive, CEO Marc Adee told the assembled group.

“With an insurance company, there are a lot of moving parts, and whenever there’s something new, technologically speaking, we’re always trying to think about how to use it practically. We have a philosophy of everyday innovation. So, when robotic processing automation came out, we went with it. You can shave off time from tasks. We started small and experimented, and now we have several hundred out there running,” he said. The company was already using machine learning tools, but when generative AI came out a year and a half ago, Adee started experimenting with ChatGPT and letting his employees know about it.

Now the company has a meeting every two weeks to discuss generative AI and how it can be used at C&F. Nick Johnson-Hill, vice president of the data group, gave a slide presentation of what’s going on at the company.

To set the stage, he provided some statistics. ChatGPT 4, the latest version, has taken the uniform bar exam and the AP statistics exam. “Only 10 percent of humans are better at taking the uniform bar exam [than generative AI], and only 15 percent of humans are better at taking the AP statistics exam,” he said. He also showed some images created by generative AI from Google, after just a one-sentence prompt.


Big List of Ideas

Johnson-Hill pointed out that C&F has a big list of ideas “that we can use generative AI for. And we have to shift our way of thinking because there are so many things up to this point where you’ve had unstructured data. And if you want to use that data, it’s a manual thing. Now we are realizing we can use generative AI for this, so we just keep adding to this list.”

One example, he said, is claim summaries. “There are various points along the life of the claim where it’s helpful to have a summary of that claim. Some of our claims have notes typed in by adjusters; you can get hundreds of notes on big claims that can be open for years.”

It’s quite a complex task to look at these claims at various stages of their lifetime, he said, and that’s why it’s useful to have a summary. Some of the claims would “even roll up to Marc’s [CEO] level, where he is looking at an important claim and trying to understand it. So, we’re building a tool that will summarize all of this data to make it much more manageable. Unfortunately, one of the limitations with the AI tools available right now is there’s only so much text they can accept as an input.”

One of the attendees, who works at a tech firm in New Jersey, asked Adee and Johnson-Hill to weigh in about a rollout of Microsoft Copilot to the tech firm’s executive team, noting that he tried, but “the team couldn’t get there.” He added, “I’m curious about what best practices” C&F uses to ensure that team members get the benefits of using the tool.

Right now, there isn’t much training available from Microsoft, Johnson-Hill answered, but C&F is using videos to teach the skills, and has internal training for those who are using generative AI.

“And we’re focused on starting small, with the people we know are interested in it and likely to use it, and then they can socialize it into the organization. But a big rollout to 2,000 or 3,000 people is tough, and expensive.”


Getting Employees Excited

One of the main focuses at C&F now is to get employees excited about using AI. So, to generate interest, C&F has done a few interesting and fun things that have nothing to do with transforming the business. “We want the employees to be more interested in AI. We want them to use it, understand what it’s capable of and its limitations,” Johnson-Hill said.

“One of the things we did, working with a partner, was to generate a deepfake Marc [Adee], where you can now type in something, and it generates a video of Marc. It sounds like him, looks like him, has his mannerisms and his voice intonation; and the different versions of it are getting better and better. We are working on his delivery in multiple languages. It was trained on about 90 minutes of video,” he said.

C&F employees are having fun with this while they are learning to embrace generative AI, Adee and Johnson-Hill agreed.


Article courtesy of NJ Tech Weekly.