The Insurer Strikes Back: AI for Hire from Taikang?

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9 January 2019

Taikang is making an AI platform for hire. Will insurers in other countries follow in its footsteps?

Key research questions

  • Why is Taikang building its own AI platform and what does it enable?
  • Who are the partners that Taikang is collaborating with?
  • What is the future for an AI platform like the one that Taikang is building?


The Chinese retail market is increasingly powered by AI, driven by data and enabled by omnichannel touchpoints — as exemplified by the “New Retail” wave. Because consumer expectations are set not only by the insurance industry but also by their experiences in general, insurers have had to cope with the challenge of rapidly modernising in an increasingly digitised landscape.

How has Taikang coped with this problem, and how can it potentially help others do the same?

Chinese consumers are increasingly spoilt by innovations driven by AI, which are becoming smarter and driven by data. This is happening across different industries, so insurers servicing them are working hard to meet these heightened expectations.

Taikang is building an AI platform that will support an extensive range of applications by providing fundamental AI capabilities that will be reused. The platform has four modules: the Customer Identity Verification Platform (CIVP), the Optical Character Recognition Platform (OCRP), the Natural Language Processing Platform (NLPP), and the Speech Analysis Platform (SAP). Each module is made accessible through APIs and SDKs. The CIVP alone saves Taikang over US$70 million annually, and its impact is still increasing.