Ordnance Survey trials Microsoft AI to reduce home insurance premiums

Ordnance Survey trials Microsoft AI to reduce home insurance premiums
Machine learning technology can accurately identify different roof types 

Elly Yates-Roberts |

Ordnance Survey (OS) is trialling Microsoft’s artificial intelligence (AI) technology to ‘see’ roofs helping to correctly identify roof types and reduce home insurance premiums.

People who own properties with flat roofs can be charged more for insurance due to potential problems with damp as rainwater may not run off properly.

If homes are incorrectly judged to have flat roofs, this could lead to people paying more for home insurance policies.

It is anticipated that by uploading images of roof types to AI programmes, the technology can be used to avoid errors. Trials so far have seen identification accuracy rise from 0% to 87% in just a week.

“We now have a machine training system that can be trained to classify almost anything, such as bodies of water for example, and on top of this, the machine can be set to run hundreds of these classification queries simultaneously,” said Isabel Sargent, senior research and development scientist at OS.

It is thought it would take Microsoft’s technology less than a day to classify all 35.7 million properties in Britain and their roof types.

“The hack we’ve conducted with OS demonstrates the potential benefits that AI can bring to people in a broad mix of roles,” said Gina Dragulin, audience evangelist at Microsoft. “Our own research found that workers believe more than a third (36%) of tasks they carry out on a regular basis would benefit from intelligent automation.

“The OS hack is a perfect example of the value that could be created for OS surveyors if they were able to eliminate time-intensive tasks, such as roof-type identification, from their day-to-day activities, enabling them to focus on more complex tasks that require the type of high-level decision making and judgment calls that only an expert can make.”

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