Insurance risk and commercial law firm BLM has launched a suite of seven online analytics, case management and communications tools under the banner BLM Innovations, including Foresight; a flagship AI system developed by the London School of Economics and BLM’s data science team to help claims handlers decide who is at fault in a traffic accident.
Foresight helps claims handlers to weigh up the strength of evidence in a case based on a number of pertinent questions that leads to a decision on whether someone is at fault from changing lanes.
Speaking to Legal IT Insider, Adrian Spencer, director of business services & improvement and leader of the firm’s analytics steering committee said: “It’s an accumulation of best practice, and so with a number of very pertinent questions you can ascertain to a great degree of accuracy whether a party is at fault or not. Foresight includes a very complex algorithm that London School of Economics and our data scientists have contributed to, but it doesn’t require lots of data and it can reaffirm a handler’s position. Ultimately it can confirm that their view is accurate, but it can also challenge their thinking and make them look at second time. It almost takes out any cognitive bias and ensures that the answer they produce is based on the best practice recommendations.”
While Foresight’s application is currently narrow, the objective is to potentially scale it to other scenarios such as property damage claims.
In addition to Foresight, BLM’s data science team, which was launched in June 2017 and is led by Andrew Dunkley, has developed and launched six further tools.
Pathfinder uses decision tree technology to helps forecast possible outcomes at trial, helping handlers decide whether to settle or fight a claim. It has been in internal development for months but is now in pilot stage.
Searchlight is a business intelligence tool which gives both insurers and corporate clients access to live data relating to claims spend, reserves, accident cause, location and injury analyses.
BLM Innovations also comprises Realtime, an online portal offering live access to case data, financial information and legal documents; Forum, a digital conferencing tool connecting everyone involved in a case; Collaborate, a virtual legal environment bespoke for each client; and Smartcase, which brings together collaboration tools, quantum management software, document management and risk analysis to deliver better and faster outcomes in large personal injury cases.
The competitive margins in the insurance sector mean that insurance focussed firms such as BLM and Kennedys are leading the field in helping their clients to apply analytics to maximise their returns.
Spencer, who prior to BLM was a claims director, said: “My view as an ex insurer is that since the crash in 2008, investment returns have plummeted and with those returns plummeting, insurers have had to rely on underwriting and claims and there is a massive focus on underwriting rigour and claims technical excellence as a way of making decisions better and operations leaner. These tools help with that and create potential efficiencies. The push from BLM is around supporting our clients on those endeavours. Suppliers want law firms in this area to help them as they develop their own thinking. There will no doubt be further iterations of these tools down the line but right now it’s about being brave.”
One vendor who asked us not to be quoted said: “Andrew Dunkley is one of the smartest data folks I know in the UK legaltech scene and he’s also very unheralded. BLM invested in a team to do this and this area of the market means thin margins but a lot of structured insurance data so there’s a motivation not to talk nonsense.”
In a statement, BLM’s senior partner, Matthew Harrington, said: “We are really proud of BLM Innovations. Our tools have been a long time in the making. We wanted to be confident about the potentially transformative impact they could have for our clients, and the claims they handle, before we took them to market. We’ve brought together analytics, IT and business improvement experts, along with partners throughout the firm to help create BLM Innovations and we are excited to see how our suite of tools will continue to evolve in the future.”