Asia Awards 2024: Best AI initiative—FWD Group

FWD Group wins best AI initiative in the 2024 WatersTechnology Asia Awards.

Initiative overview

In 2023, FWD Group, a pan-Asian life insurance company with more than 13 million customers across 10 markets, launched FWD Brain, a centralized platform hosting in-house group and local artificial intelligence (AI) models. FWD Brain is designed to assist the firm’s stakeholders and data scientists by providing a semi-automated machine learning ecosystem facilitating data processing, model development, and insights generation. It leverages multiple AI signals to help streamline various processes, including cross-selling opportunities, churn prevention, and the optimization of underwriting and claims processing, integrating AI to ensure quality, compliance, and interpretability.

FWD Brain has yielded transformative benefits across various aspects of our operations. We are combining new digital technologies, data analytics and artificial intelligence to reinvent the insurance journey of our customers. Through FWD Brain, we can embed AI along the customer journey, making it simpler for them to purchase, claim and engage with FWD 

Dr. Yao Yu Hui, group chief data officer, FWD Group

The problem it solves  

FWD Brain addresses FWD Group’s rising demand for analytics by providing a centralized platform hosting around 200 active AI models, encouraging collaboration among the firm’s wider group and local data scientists. Focused on scalability, it harnesses data to support AI applications, offers insights for improved decision-making, and ensures compliance with regulatory and data governance standards. The firm’s aim is to enhance its competitiveness by developing data-driven insurance products/solutions and delivering an outstanding customer experience.


AI campaigns assisted by FWD Brain have generated substantial value in terms of new business across FWD Group’s markets. It has helped improve policy renewal rates and lowered lapses and churn, resulting in improved customer retention. The time typically required for claims processing has also been reduced, while there was a 19% improvement in straight-through processing rates for auto claims. The firm also saw a decrease of 50% in turnaround time on AI model development and AI campaign execution.

Future plans

FWD Group will concentrate on the following areas:

  • Data enrichment through data partnerships to better understand the firm’s customers and create accurate AI models
  • Leveraging predictive and generative AI to analyze large data volumes, and by so doing, generate descriptive and actionable insights
  • Integrating a self-learning mechanism to monitor and allocate AI signals intelligently along the customer journey, understanding and adapting recommended actions, and optimizing AI initiatives

Why they won

FWD Group is no stranger to the winners’ circle of WatersTechnology’s Asia Awards, having won a number of categories in previous editions. The pan-Asian life insurance company took home the best cloud migration project and the best alternative data initiative categories is the 2022 edition of these awards, while this year’s win in the best AI initiative category is courtesy of its FWD Brain project, unveiled in 2023 to satisfy internal demand for AI-driven analytics. The results to date have been impressive: The initiative has helped improve policy renewal rates and improved overall customer retention, while claims processing times have been reduced along with an increase in straight-through processing rates for auto claims of almost 20%. Outstanding.

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