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Travelers Insurance applies for AI software trademark

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Insurance | Legal | Technology
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Travelers Companies has filed for a trademark on artificial intelligence (AI) software and applications for insurance claims processing, administration, loss control management along with numerous other tasks, according to a filing with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

The company filed for a trademark of TRAVAI on Feb. 2. It describes TRAVAI as a downloadable and non-downloadable AI computer application and software. The software includes a chatbot that can also be used via a mobile app, the filing says. 

Functions the program can perform include:

    • Underwriting
    • Issuance
    • Administration of property and casualty insurance
    • Insurance consultation
    • Providing insurance rate quotes
    • Insurance claims processing and administration
    • Insurance services in the nature of loss control management for others
    • Insurance information

Late last year, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) approved a model bulletin on the use of AI by insurance companies. It outlines the need for processes and controls to prevent possible AI inaccuracies, discriminating biases, and data vulnerabilities.

It also informs insurers about the steps state insurance departments could take to ensure that the companies follow the law. This could include documentation that insurers have set up governance and risk management frameworks for AI systems.

According to Insurance Business Magazine, Alaska is the only state to issue the AI bulletin. Nine other states have put the bulletin out for public comment. 

“All carriers should take this very seriously immediately,” Dan Adamson, co-founder of Armilla AI, an AI risk consulting firm, said in the article. “We’re already seeing lawsuits on the irresponsible use of AI. [The NAIC bulletin] is sending a strong signal to insurers, whether they’re building AI solutions in-house or using a vendor’s solution, they have to do it in a responsible way.”

The article mentions pending AI-related suits against Cigna and UnitedHealth. 

Forbes reported in July that a California class action lawsuit was filed against Cigna for using an algorithmic system called PxDx that systemically rejects claims in seconds. 

Cigna claims PxDx is a simple process similar to methods used by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and other health insurers. 

A class action lawsuit filed against UnitedHealthcare in U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota denied elderly patients claims through its AI algorithm, nH predict, according to a November Bloomberg Law article

CMS recently clarified its guidelines on using AI by Medicare Advantage (MA) Plans in a Feb. 6 memo. The clarification stated plans could use algorithms and AI but any decision to deny coverage should include a review of the individual’s circumstances, including a patient’s medical history, the physician’s recommendation, and/or clinical notes.

“Furthermore, we are concerned that algorithms and many new artificial intelligence technologies can exacerbate discrimination and bias,” the memo says. “We remind MA organizations of the nondiscrimination requirements of Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability in certain health programs and activities. MA organizations should, prior to implementing an algorithm or software tool, ensure that the tool is not perpetuating or exacerbating existing bias, or introducing new biases.”

While AI specifically isn’t mentioned in a Washington state class action suit against USAA, the suit does focus on a computer program it says arbitrarily reduced or denied personal injury protection and/or medical payments. The Auto Injury Solutions (AIS) program is owned by CCC Intelligent Solutions Holdings Inc.


Photo courtesy of Poca Wander Stock/iStock

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