Kennedys calls in university AI team to help tackle insurance fraud

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21 November 2017

Yang: Hybrid system

City law firm Kennedys has called in artificial intelligence (AI) experts at Manchester University to help develop a new product to combat insurance fraud.

The two-year project, co-funded by the government agency Innovate UK, will involve academics examining systems already used by Kennedys before developing a new one based on the law firm’s databases.

Karim Derrick, project director and head of research and development at the law firm, said: “It’s all about identifying patterns. This could be when a fraudster finds a strategy that works or when it is repeated or copied by others. Our aim is to help clients identify them as fraud and treat them accordingly.”

Mr Derrick said Kennedys already had an AI-based tool to tackle insurance fraud, KI, which the firm wanted to “take to the next level”.

He went on: “Fraud is a massive problem for the UK. If we can bring it down, it’s a win for everyone.

“AI can give us insights into the data that a human would not see. It’s about making connections at scale and rapidly. We want to help our clients detect fraud and turn this into a product they can use.”

The academic team at Manchester University consists of Jian-Bo Yang, professor of decision and system sciences and director of the Decision and Cognitive Sciences Research Centre, and Dong Ling Xu, professor of decision science and support systems.

Professor Yang said: “At the moment the industry tries to prevent fraud by looking for and detecting suspicious patterns, but criminals are very clever and always trying to stay one step ahead, so attempting to identify new patterns as soon as they arise is key.”

“We are confident that we can help Kennedys improve its current system. The key is to try and develop a hybrid system where you can use both big data and human knowledge in deep learning to tackle the problem, which we call transparent machine learning. In this way you can explain exactly why you reach your decisions. It is evidence-based, transparent decision-making.

“Ultimately you have to be able to explain to stakeholders what you are doing. It is hard for people to trust a black box that does not explain how it reaches a conclusion.”

Kennedys partner Richard West added: “Our aim is to continually use technology to challenge existing practice and to help our clients use lawyers less.”

Kennedys already has an Ideas Lab, which opened in the summer and can potentially enable any member of staff, legal or not, to become chief executive of a legal tech start-up.

A more advanced version of litigation management system KLAiM, which enables clients to send cases directly to counsel without the need for a solicitor, is also being developed using AI, ready for launch next year.

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