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Insurance giant FWD Group strikes multi-year AI deal with Microsoft

Ryan Kim (left) with Bill Borden in Hong Kong
Ryan Kim (left) with Bill Borden in Hong Kong

Hong Kong-based multinational insurer FWD Group has struck a four-year agreement with Microsoft to gain access to the latter’s latest artificial intelligence capabilities.

The Asian insurance giant, which has about $63 billion in assets under management “plans to drive its generative AI initiatives by leveraging Microsoft’s Azure OpenAI Service and other enterprise-grade innovations,” the company said in a statement that was shared with QA Financial.

Ryan Kim, Group Chief Digital Officer of FWD Group, said his company “expects to benefit from the private networking, monitoring and security capabilities of Microsoft Azure as well as its advanced AI models.”

He added that “this collaboration marries our spirit in Asia in some of the fastest growing insurance markets in the world, with the global scale and skill that Microsoft brings in engineering and AI.”

Kim said FWD plans “to develop new industry use cases, products and standards [as] we believe [this] will shape the insurance journey of the future.”

He disclosed that the group plans to use AI features to enhance the customer experience and its operations, primarily in areas like acquisition, marketing, channel and agent performance, underwriting, claims and customer service.

The insurer has been an early adopter of Copilot for Microsoft 365, an AI companion that supports employees in their day-to-day work.

“There is no doubt AI is driving transformation across the financial services industry.”

Bill Borden, Microsoft

FWD embarked on its AI journey in 2019 and now has almost 200 active AI models applied across its business, with over 600 use cases, Kim revealed.

Bill Borden, Corporate Vice President of Worldwide Financial Services at Microsoft, who was down in Hong Kong to sign the deal, understands why FWD and the wider insurance industry are embracing AI.

“There is no doubt AI is driving transformation across the financial services industry, opening new opportunities for innovation and business growth with agility and at scale,” he said.

Zooming in on the APAC market, Borden said that “as a pivotal player in the global financial landscape, the Asia Pacific region stands out for its dynamism and adaptability, fostering continuous growth and driving innovation.”

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