BBA 2023 Winner Profile: UK–Japan Partnership – Aioi Nissay Dowa Insurance and Mind Foundry

Written by Sterling Content
December 8, 2023


Written by Sterling Content
December 8, 2023

Aioi Nissay Dowa Insurance and Mind Foundry are marking the first anniversary of their joint venture, Aioi R&D Lab – Oxford, with a British Business Award. The pair were named winners in the UKJapan Partnership category at the British Chamber of Commerce in Japan’s gala to celebrate UK–Japan business relations, held at Hilton Tokyo in early November.

The Japanese insurance firm and University of Oxford startup were recognised by an esteemed panel of judges for their cutting-edge collaborative endeavour, which aims to address pressing global social issues by creating shared value powered by artificial intelligence (AI) technologies.

The joint venture builds on an established strategic partnership between the two firms, which has been innovating in the insurance industry, using AI to help understand driving behaviour, detect crashes, prevent large loss, identify fraud optimising pricing, automate claims and manage risk. Its work has “already delivered improvements across customer retention, safe driving, fraud detection and automation across the board,” said Aioi Nissay Dowa Insurance.

Aioi R&D Lab – Oxford is designed to “push this partnership further to develop real-world solutions” to tackle even bigger problems—that society is facing now or will face in the future—by focusing on “embedding AI into specific applications.”


Finding solutions

By bringing together insurance insights from Aioi Nissay Dowa Insurance and applied machine learning expertise from Mind Foundry—a startup spun out of the University of Oxford in 2016—the lab aims to create new technologies capable of distilling Big Data into “knowledge that is interpretable, valuable, understandable and beneficial.”

Globally renowned academics across many disciplines at the University of Oxford are supporting the research, which focuses on mobility for all, autonomous driving, the future of insurance, climate and health & wellness.

In the field of mobility, for example, the lab aims to develop products that insure individuals continuously across multiple modes of transport, including cars, trains and scooters, to reduce risk, traffic accidents and carbon dioxide emissions. In climate, meanwhile, efforts focus on solutions to reduce carbon and energy use in transport, preserve biodiversity and gain a better understanding of the changing risks associated with global warming.

Aoi Nissay Dowa Insurance reports “measurable outcomes” in the first year of operations. Since the February launch of a driving behaviour change programme tailored to contribute to a safer and more secure society, the firm’s UK subsidiary’s telematics insurance shows no new large losses reported for seven months. The Group also noted enhanced fraudulent claim detection rates, which led to the programme’s adoption within its European and Japanese sectors across diverse insurance lines. Moreover, the use of automation in the claims process has “shortened timelines, ensured swift compensation and enhanced societal resilience.”

Meanwhile, the lab’s AI infrastructure monitoring system has attracted the attention of Susono City, which is eager to implement it. A joint press conference took place on November 21.

The lab is also preparing for the coming wave of quantum computing applications by exploring which ones can provide the most value in the near-term. “Ongoing quantum computing R&D is identifying areas of quantum advantage focusing on innovative transportation solutions, reinforcing our commitment to technological advancement and societal betterment,” said Aioi Nissay Dowa Insurance.


Setting an example

Reflecting its role as a “transformative UK–Japan alliance, highlighting unprecedented integration and innovation,” the partnership has received significant recognition.

In December 2022, Mind Foundry and Aioi Nissay Dow Europe, a subsidiary of Aioi Nissay Dowa Insurance, received a prestigious Innovate UK grant for their research on cognitive degradation models using advanced telematics data. This work was featured on ITV Tonight, one of the UK’s most popular news shows.

In June, the pair’s work on an advanced fraud detection model was featured as a case study in machine learning safety and governance on the UK government’s website. The innovative solution demonstrated an ability to detect fraud more effectively through a  technology pioneered by Mind Foundry called Continuous Metalearning. Continuous Metalearning allows the fraud solution to continuously upgrade and improve its model performance as it learns from new data it sees.

The lab has been praised since its opening, including in propelling AI advancements and bolstering UK startups. Its team was invited to present innovative solutions at this year’s London Tech Week, a global celebration of tech, uniting innovative thinkers and tomorrow’s talent. The opportunity allowed the lab to showcase its “collaborative efforts in advancing AI technologies, further solidifying our standing as influential contributors to AI development and application on a global scale,” said Aioi Nissay Dowa Insurance. 

Most recently, the lab’s achievements were highlighted at the UK–Japan Partnership Forum hosted by the British Embassy Tokyo, Aioi Nissay Dowa Insurance and Aioi R&D Lab – Oxford, in October. Designed to cultivate further cooperation between Japanese enterprises and UK companies, the event attracted representatives from corporations and government. It presented how to tackle global challenges by leveraging technological innovation and exchange.



Reflecting on the BBA

 Yutaka Ideguchi, executive vice president and representative director at Aioi Nissay Dowa Insurance, said: “We are truly honoured and privileged to be the recipients of this prestigious award, a clear recognition of our unwavering commitment and strategic endeavours since the inception of Aioi R&D Lab – Oxford.

“Our steadfast dedication remains firmly centred on the development of innovative solutions to address societal challenges, extending far beyond the boundaries of the UK and Japan to embrace a global perspective. The vision is to forge new pathways for value creation beyond just the insurance sector, by combining the cutting-edge expertise and technology hailing from the UK with the robust foundations of Japanese business acumen.”

Brian Mullins, CEO of Mind Foundry, said: “We are honoured to receive this award recognising the success of our collaboration with Aioi Nissay Dowa Insurance and the potential for Japan and the UK to work together.

“The power of AI is transformative and plays a big role in helping organisations to better quantify risk, optimise our use of resources, and create solutions that promote and support human flourishing. We are excited to continue this partnership and our work of bringing humans and AI together to solve key social and community issues in Japan, the UK and globally.”