How AI is Reshaping the Finance and Insurance sectors across Australia

May 1, 2024



In recent years, the rapid advancement and integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the finance and insurance industries worldwide has been transformative. Australia, with its robust financial services market and proactive regulatory environment, is at the forefront of this evolution.  

This comprehensive industry update explores the emerging value models enabled by AI, outlining the security implications inherent in these technologies, and details how the regulatory landscape in Australia is adapting to harness AI. Special attention is given to how market leading banks and insurers are implementing their strategic use of AI. 

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Emerging Value Models in Finance and Insurance

AI-Driven Analytics for Risk Assessment 

AI significantly enhances analytics for risk assessment in the finance and insurance sectors, surpassing traditional methods that rely on historical data and outdated statistical models. This advancement is crucial for Australian Insurance companies, which utilise AI for precise risk assessments and pricing, thereby directly enhancing their efficiency in claims processing and overall customer satisfaction. 

Enhanced Underwriting and Pricing 

AI-driven improvements are proving to be transformational within the insurance sector, enabling companies to speed up operations and enhance the accuracy of risk assessments. This allows for more competitive and profitable pricing. Already several insurers are leveraging machine learning with geospatial imaging to better understand properties they insure, which streamlines the quoting process and links property characteristics directly to potential risks and losses. 

Personalisation of Financial Products 

AI also enables unprecedented personalisation of financial and insurance products. Financial institutions analyse individual behaviour and preferences to offer tailored financial advice or optimised investment strategies, while insurers adjust premiums and coverage in real-time based on individual risk profiles. 

Automation and Efficiency Driving Profitability and Improved Customer Experiences 

AI significantly impacts the automation of routine tasks such as claims processing in insurance and loan approvals in banking, reducing human error and lowering operational costs. Enhanced customer service through AI-powered chatbots and automated systems provides 24/7 support and therefore quicker response times. 

Economic Impact of Generative AI 

A July report from Microsoft and the Tech Council of Australia (2023) highlights the substantial economic potential of generative AI, suggesting it could add between $5 billion and $13 billion annually to the Australian professional and financial services sectors by 2030. This underscores the transformative impact generative AI is poised to have, enhancing productivity, and contributing significantly to economic growth. 

Specific Use Cases from Banking Leaders 


Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) is deepening its partnership with Microsoft to boost its AI capabilities, focusing on generative AI to enhance customer interactions and cybersecurity. This collaboration aims to speed up and improve the quality of customer service, develop better security tools, and help protect business customers' operations. It also involves initiatives to build cyber skills in Australia and share engineering expertise, demonstrating CBA's commitment to leveraging AI for superior digital experiences and enhanced security.

Source: CBA website, Published 11 March 2024

National Australia Bank (NAB) is integrating artificial intelligence (AI) to enhance safety and efficiency, collaborating with leading US tech firms. NAB is rolling out AI tools gradually to ensure seamless adaptation by employees and systems, aiming to improve cyber protection, prevent fraud, and streamline transactions. This strategic deployment underscores NAB's commitment to providing personalised service and maintaining a cutting-edge position in banking innovation.

Source: NAB website, Published 22 June 2023

ANZ Bank has developed an internal chatbot, Z-GPT, using OpenAI's models and Google's AI tools, to enhance access to corporate information and automate reporting processes. Created at ANZ’s AI Centre of Experimentation in Bengaluru, Z-GPT is being carefully tested within the bank to ensure it supports decision-making without compromising security or accuracy. This cautious approach reflects ANZ's commitment to responsible innovation.

Source: ANZ website, Published 22 August, 2023

Westpac is leveraging AI to transform its operations and customer experiences, as highlighted by CTO David Walker. Initiatives include using generative AI to boost software development productivity significantly and developing "hybrid intelligence" for more personalised banking interactions. Westpac's long-term vision includes fully autonomous AI to act as a personal financial concierge, with a commitment to transparent and ethical AI development. This approach positions Westpac as a leader in technology innovation within the banking sector.

 Source: Westpac website, Published 30 November, 2023

Leading Insurers and AI Solutions

Suncorp Group has made significant advancements in the insurance sector by integrating geospatial imagery and artificial intelligence (AI). Their pioneering project in Australia leverages high-resolution aerial 2D and 3D imagery combined with AI to streamline the insurance purchasing process. This innovation reduces the number of questions customers need to answer, whether online or through contact centres, effectively addressing the risk of underinsurance due to inaccurate data provision. The implementation has resulted in shorter call times and more efficient digital sales, thereby improving data accuracy and enhancing customer protection. Supported by Arturo, a provider of AI-powered property insights, this technology covers most of Australia and is updated multiple times annually, placing Suncorp at the forefront of technological innovation in the financial services industry.

Source: Suncorp website, Published 6 April 2023

QBE Ventures, the investment arm of QBE, is actively shaping the future of InsurTech by forming strategic partnerships with early-stage companies. These collaborations focus on utilising emerging technologies such as large language models (LLMs) to improve various aspects of the insurance value chain. Significant investments include partnerships with CLARA Analytics to enhance commercial insurance claims, Cytora for streamlined risk selection and pricing, Demex for managing financial risks from non-catastrophic weather events, Geosite for integrating geospatial data to improve detection and underwriting, Hyperscience for document digitisation, and Tensorflight for efficient commercial property inspections. These initiatives allow QBE to stay adaptive and responsive to evolving market demands and global challenges.

Source: QBE website, Published 25 September 2023

Insurance Australia Group (IAG) is at the forefront of integrating ethical artificial intelligence (AI) into its operations, demonstrated by its sponsorship of the 2nd edition of the Responsible AI Index. IAG's commitment to responsible AI extends from its early support for the Gradient Institute to its participation in the Australian AI Ethics Principles pilot study. This dedication is underscored by the use of AI to enhance customer experiences, particularly through predictive models that streamline the car insurance claims process. These models facilitate advanced communication with customers, significantly improving their experience during the claims process.

In addition to customer service enhancements, IAG applies rigorous responsible AI practices across its operations. These include testing AI for biases, conducting impact assessments, and running pilot studies to minimise errors. AI also enhances operational efficiencies and fraud detection, automating administrative tasks and supporting complex decision-making in claims processing. Moreover, IAG leverages AI to personalise the insurance quoting process, dynamically adjusting webpages to improve user interactions and support business growth. Through these initiatives, IAG not only adheres to ethical AI principles but also drives substantial improvements in customer service and operational efficiency.

Source: IAG website, Published 4 April 2023

Security Implications of AI in Australia's Finance and Insurance Sectors 


As Artificial Intelligence (AI) continues to transform Australia's economy and lifestyle, it introduces significant security risks that demand vigilant management by organisations within the finance and insurance sectors. These risks necessitate a robust approach to cybersecurity, underpinned by both national and international standards and practices. The following sections provide a detailed analysis of the key security risks associated with AI and the strategies to mitigate these risks effectively. 

Cybersecurity Enhancement and Risks 

AI technologies, particularly advancements in generative AI, machine learning, and deep learning, play a crucial role in enhancing cybersecurity measures. They automate threat detection, optimise security assessments, and improve resilience against cyberattacks. However, the integration of AI systems into critical financial and insurance operations also attracts the attention of cybercriminals. This dual role of AI—both as a tool for enhancing security and as a potential target—requires stringent cybersecurity measures. Organisations must remain vigilant against the evolving tactics of cybercriminals who might exploit AI systems for malicious purposes. 

Data and Model Security 

The integrity of data is paramount in AI systems, especially those involving machine learning and deep learning. Compromised training data can manipulate AI behaviour, leading to potentially severe consequences, such as flawed risk assessments or erroneous financial advice. Protecting the data used to train AI models is essential to prevent these manipulated outcomes. Measures must be taken to safeguard against data poisoning, intellectual property theft, and supply chain attacks, which are becoming increasingly sophisticated. 

Regulatory Challenges 

The regulatory landscape for AI in Australia, particularly concerning cybersecurity, is evolving. This includes anticipation of influences from international legislation such as the forthcoming EU Artificial Intelligence Act, which aims to ensure that AI systems are secure, compliant, and do not pose undue risks to users or interconnected systems. Australian regulators are closely monitoring these developments to align national laws and ensure that AI implementations in finance and insurance are both innovative and secure. 

Specific Threats and Attacks Against AI Models 

AI models themselves can be high-risk targets for cyberattacks. Protecting these models involves securing the AI development process, concealing model parameters, and implementing robust monitoring systems to detect and respond to malicious inputs. Types of attacks that are particularly concerning include data poisoning, input manipulation, model theft, and attacks on the AI supply chain. Organisations must ensure AI code maintainability and manage the complexities associated with AI systems to mitigate these risks effectively. 

Implementing Robust Security Practices 

To safeguard against both direct attacks on AI systems and the misuse of AI technologies in broader cyber threats, organisations in the finance and insurance sectors must adopt comprehensive security measures. These include adhering to stringent compliance practices, using established cybersecurity frameworks, managing privileged access, enforcing multi-factor authentication, maintaining rigorous backup protocols, and thoroughly understanding the operational limits of AI systems. 

By adopting these comprehensive security measures and staying informed through ongoing education and updates, organisations can leverage AI technologies securely and effectively. This proactive approach minimises potential risks while maximising the benefits of AI innovations, ensuring that Australia's finance and insurance sectors remain resilient and competitive in a rapidly evolving digital landscape. 

Detailed Overview of AI Regulations and Developments in Australia 

National AI Strategy 

Launched in 2021, the National AI Strategy aims to position Australia as a global leader in responsible AI development, including significant investments in AI projects and education. 

AI Ethics Framework 

The AI Ethics Framework establishes principles such as fairness, accountability, transparency, and respect for privacy, guiding businesses, and governments in responsible AI use. 

Data Privacy 

The Privacy Act of 1988 plays a crucial role in regulating AI, ensuring the protection of personal information processed by AI systems. 

Sector-Specific Regulations 

Specific regulations affect AI use in sectors like financial services and healthcare, where AI must comply with standards set by bodies such as the ASIC and AHPRA. 

Recent Regulatory Initiatives 

The Australian Government plans to implement mandatory safeguards for high-risk AI applications, focusing on areas such as testing, audit, transparency, and accountability. These developments include a risk-based regulatory approach and ongoing public consultations to refine AI regulations. 

International Collaboration 

Australia engages in international AI discussions, aligning its policies with global standards through organisations like the OECD and the G20. 


AI presents both tremendous opportunities and significant challenges in Australia's finance and insurance sectors. By leveraging AI to drive innovation and improve efficiencies, while also rigorously addressing security risks, the industry can harness AI to safeguard its future. Continuous engagement with regulatory developments is essential for stakeholders to navigate this evolving landscape, ensuring that Australia remains at the forefront of AI technology integration. 

Unlock the full potential of AI in your organisation. Contact us today to schedule a strategic session with our experts at NEXTDC to lead the way in innovation and security.


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