Far from replacing humans, Artificial Intelligence is actually coming to the aid of a very old profession that has fallen out of fashion to such an extent that people are increasingly not joining it. I speak of the rarified world of the Actuary. Actuaries deal with the measurement and management of risk and uncertainty using what is known as 'actuarial science’. However, in recent years, university graduates who may have entered the industry in the past are now often attracted to the slightly 'hotter' world of Data Science, leaving the Actuarial world rather struggling.
Into this problem steps a Paris-based start-up called Akur8. Akur8 is a SaaS Insurtech startup specialized in insurance pricing optimization using AI, aiming to address the insurance industry’s issue of ever-increasing pressure to find a way to offer quick and appropriate prices for retail and commercial insurance customers.
Akur8 has now raised €8m ($8.9m) in a Series A funding round from BlackFin Capital Partners and MTech Capital, its total funding to €10m ($11.2m) following initial investment and incubation from Kamet Ventures in 2018.
Akur8 says its platform can build risk models more than ten times faster than the traditional manual process, reducing the pricing time to market to hours rather than weeks. It is currently deployed by multiple insurance companies throughout Europe and The Americas.
The startup takes the view that standard machine learning approaches don’t work as well because they are hard to reverse engineer, so its AI algorithm automates the insurance pricing process while 'showing its working’, as it were, thus providing a level of transparency that’s required in the industry to maintain confidence and comply with regulatory requirements.
Samuel Falmagne, Founder and CEO of Akur8, said in a statement that their "product that gives carriers the ability to meet customers’ expectations for real-time pricing while improving the accuracy of their risk assessment, thus significantly reducing their loss ratio.”
Julien Creuzé, managing director at BlackFin Capital Partners, said: “Akur8 has developed a highly differentiated AI-based solution for risk modeling and pricing, with tremendous value potential for the insurers who embrace it.” Kevin McLoughlin, partner and co-founder of MTech Capital, said: “Our investment thesis is centered around backing visionary founders with the ambition to transform insurance through the use of technology. We are proud to be backing Akur8 as a unique player solving a critical issue for the entire industry.”