Ashok Krishnan is the Chief Data Officer and Head of Customer Experience at AXA. AXA is named the No.1 insurance company in the FORTUNE Global 500 for five consecutive years and the No.1 global best insurance brand in The Best Global Brands list (Interbrand) for ten consecutive years. It also recently won the Technology Initiative of the Year Award at the Asia Insurance Industry Awards for its use of data science and machine learning.
 
Ashok leads various data science, governance and management functions for AXA Hong Kong and is passionate about improving customer experience through the power of digital and data. 
 
We spoke to Ashok ahead of his presentation at the Big Data & Machine Learning Leaders Summit Hong Kong 2018. He discusses how businesses should and can embrace AI as part of their operations, how it can enhance the customer’s experience and what the future holds for AI.
 
How important will AI /machine learning be for your company moving forward? 
 
AXA considers AI as key to the transformation of the industry and that it will usher a golden age for insurance. We have a clearly defined data-driven roadmap for the coming years which enables us to provide the best customer experience, personalised products and services for our customers. Ultimately, AI allows us to transform ourselves from being a payer of claims to a true partner to our customers.
 
How can AI support a more personal experience for your customers? 
 
AI helps us to understand our customers and their needs better and truly offer customised and seamless services. For example, we are already able to assess the future needs of each of our individual customers based on the data points collected from years and years of insuring people and their families. 
 
Also, imagine having your insurer supporting you to improve your health with specific input based on your individual situation, claims automatically processed and paid out, etc. 
 

Looking at AI, how do you think this technology is going to change the way the insurance business operates? 
 
AI will bring a disruptive change within the industry. Pricing, underwriting, claims handling and the overall customer experience will all be more personal, simplified and proactive. It will be less of a 'one-policy-fits-all' - instead we’ll be able to offer insurance products that exactly cover the customer's personal needs throughout their lifecycle and quickly adapt to changes. Overall, I expect insurers to have more time to focus on individual customer needs, delivering allied services and ecosystems to empower customers to live a better life.
 
Do you see a place for AI in all businesses? 
 
Absolutely; AI can help uncover and predict patterns, flaws and behaviours that can drive optimisation in any business or operation. Of course, it has to be used in the correct way and you have to be willing to invest in use cases. The most important issue would be the ethical use of AI - it has the potential to be a massive force for good.
 

Some feel that AI will pass whilst others feel it will be the biggest shift we have seen in tech. What are your thoughts?
 
We are absolutely certain AI is here to stay, but there are limits to AI. We still need people to create value from it. It's not a golden ticket to success. It's a tool that has to be used wisely and we still need people with industry knowledge, skills and creativity to use it to its best advantage. 
 
Ashok Krishnan will be presenting at the Big Data & Machine Learning Leaders Summit in Hong Kong on December 6 & 7, 2018. In his talk; ‘The Guidance to Data Management and Governance Functions’, he will present ways businesses can lead data science, data management and governance functions to serve and create the best customer experience. 
 
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