Swiss Re to work with IBM Watson to harness the power of Big Data for Reinsurance

22 October 2015, Zurich

  • Swiss Re to work with IBM to make better use of Big Data using Watson in its Life & Health Reinsurance business unit
  • Swiss Re and IBM intend to further develop an industry-wide range of solutions in support of underwriting processes
  • Swiss Re establishes dedicated Center of Competence for cognitive computing in collaboration with IBM

Swiss Re and IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced that they are developing a range of underwriting solutions that rely on IBM Watson's cognitive computing technologies. One of the first applications will be in Swiss Re's Life & Health Reinsurance business unit.

To compete successfully and profitably, insurers must identify and act on emerging trends. In addition, insurers need the ability to spot operational issues or opportunities in real time and respond proactively. Cognitive technologies, coupled with human experience and insights, can enhance and help inform timely decision making. By applying Watson’s capabilities, the new platform could allow Swiss Re professionals to make better informed decisions and more accurately price risk.

Thomas Wellauer, Swiss Re's Group Chief Operating Officer, says: "Systems like cognitive computing can continuously read the ever growing amount of information while helping us connect the dots and making it easier to interpret that information in the right context. Swiss Re and IBM are collaborating to establish a vision for cognitive computing at Swiss Re and the wider insurance industry."

The project is yet another new industry domain for IBM’s Watson, a technology that represents a new era in computing in which systems are able to analyse and process vast amounts of unstructured data, quickly surface insights and continuously learn from their interactions with humans and data. Delivered via the cloud, Watson’s key underlying technologies are deep learning and natural language processing, the latter of which allows for humans to ask questions and interact with the system as they would a colleague.

Mike Rhodin, IBM Watson's Senior Vice President, says: "We are continuously looking for clients who can help us train Watson on new industries. Swiss Re's strong heritage of leadership in reinsurance, their global reach and breadth of data across several areas of the industry, combined with Watson's ability to learn and provide insights into vast amounts of data, make this a particularly exciting venture."

As part of the initiative Swiss Re has also set up a Center of Competence where a group of data scientists will work with IBM's cognitive computing technology to explore and deliver a wide range of use cases. Other examples of such cognitive underwriting could follow as Swiss Re and IBM work to develop a range of solutions across various sectors of the reinsurance industry that could benefit from cognitive computing.

Notes to editors

IBM Watson: Pioneering a New Era of Computing
Watson is the first open cognitive computing technology platform and represents a new era in computing where systems understand the world in the way that humans do: through senses, learning, and experience. Watson continuously learns, gaining in value and knowledge over time, from previous interactions. With the help of Watson, organizations are harnessing the power of cognitive computing to transform industries, help professionals do their jobs better, and solve important challenges.

To advance Watson, IBM has two dedicated business units: Watson, established for the development of cloud-delivered cognitive computing technologies that represent the commercialization of "artificial intelligence" or "AI" across a variety of industries, and Watson Health, dedicated to improving the ability of doctors, researchers and insurers and other related health organizations to surface new insights from data to and deliver personalized healthcare.

For more information on IBM Watson, visit: and Join the conversation at #ibmwatson.

Swiss Re
The Swiss Re Group is a leading wholesale provider of reinsurance, insurance and other insurance-based forms of risk transfer. Dealing direct and working through brokers, its global client base consists of insurance companies, mid-to-large-sized corporations and public sector clients. From standard products to tailor-made coverage across all lines of business, Swiss Re deploys its capital strength, expertise and innovation power to enable the risk-taking upon which enterprise and progress in society depend. Founded in Zurich, Switzerland, in 1863, Swiss Re serves clients through a network of about 70 offices globally and is rated "AA-" by Standard & Poor's, "Aa3" by Moody's and "A+" by A.M. Best. Registered shares in the Swiss Re Group holding company, Swiss Re Ltd, are listed in accordance with the International Reporting Standard on the SIX Swiss Exchange and trade under the symbol SREN. For more information about Swiss Re Group, please visit: or follow us on Twitter @SwissRe.

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  • instability affecting the global financial system and developments related thereto;
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