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Insurance company uses AI to evaluate companies' creditworthiness

TOKYO -- Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Co. will start analyzing companies' financial statements with artificial intelligence (AI) in tests aiming to reduce the time it takes its employees to assess firms' creditworthiness.

Mitsui says the tests will mark the first time in the insurance industry for AI to be put to use in such evaluations.

Mitsui hopes the analysis will be useful when underwriting performance bond insurance that construction companies and other firms take out for public works contracts. It is common for public offices to ask contractors to take out such insurance, which covers the compensation outsourcers can claim when contractors run into financial difficulties and are unable to carry out the work.

The insurance company usually receives about 60,000 applications for such insurance each year. Mitsui says that in about 10 percent of these applications, it takes significant time to assess firms' creditworthiness, as the cases often involve high operation costs and companies with multiple contracts.

In the trials, Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance will use software developed by Tokyo-based Kokopelli Inc. Mitsui expects the software will shorten the time it takes to assess applications, which in the past has taken as long as one week. It aims to put the system into practical use next spring after enhancing its assessment accuracy through the tests.

"We will also put the system's strengths to use when we need urgent construction, such as when disasters occur," a system operator said. (Japanese original by Satoko Takeshita, Business News Department)

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