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QBE takes the plunge with Snorkel AI stake 

QBE Ventures has invested in US insurtech Snorkel AI, which will explore ways for insurers to fine tune off-the-shelf machine learning and generative artificial intelligence (AI) models. 

Snorkel AI started as a research project at the Stanford AI Lab in 2015, exploring the technology’s use in tackling human trafficking. 

The product was later deployed at Google, Apple, Intel and the US Department of Defence. 

The Snorkel Flow platform makes classifying unstructured data easier, and QBE’s North American teams use it in predictive analytics, converting vast amounts of previously locked-up corporate data.  

“Ensuring carriers have capability for customising models in safe and scalable ways is of paramount importance,” QBE Ventures CEO James Orchard said. “We’re excited to be working with the team to help pioneer the capabilities needed to enable the insurance sector to adopt machine learning and generative AI in ethical, fair and data-informed ways.” 

Other AI products such as GPTx, Bard, Gemini and Claude require a high degree of customisation to “perform with the level of consistency, accuracy and reliability required in a regulated market”, and lack the ability to meet niche industry use cases, QBE says. 

“We invested to help accelerate the evolution of Snorkel AI as it pushes further into generative AI.” 

Market participants will succeed “not with one AI model leveraging proprietary data but with hundreds (if not thousands) of models”, and QBE says an insurer’s ability to customise at scale will be “a key competitive battleground”.