Global reinsurance giant Munich Re has become a shareholder in the German Research Centre for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI), a leading European institute for the research of robotics, smart factories and immersive quantified learning.
The partnership hopes to create new impulses in the fields of artificial intelligence and data analytics, and will focus on connecting research with practical application.
Munich Re said the arrangement represents an important step forward in the cooperation between global leaders in industry, research and politics in these fields.
The DFKI is a not-for-profit public-private partnership that receives project funding from sources such as the EU and the German government, as well as support from the membership of tech companies such as Airbus, BMW, Bosch, Google, Microsoft, SAP, Volkswagen, and now Munich Re.
Munich Re did not disclose the sum exchanged with the DFKI, but said that it expects the transaction to be finalised in the first quarter of 2018.
“Artificial intelligence is one of the most important technologies of our time,” said Torsten Jeworrek, member of the Board of Management of Munich Re. “AI makes it possible to create totally new products even today, such as insurance covers for connected factories or for losses caused by cyber crime. But it also comes with a host of new challenges.”
“By collaborating with the DFKI, we are living out our aspiration to play a leading role in AI in the insurance sector,” he continued. “Not only will the partnership help us develop the most modern, effective and best processes for our clients, it will also make the latest research available to our employees and further advance research in this field.”
Wolfgang Wahlster, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Technical and Scientific Managing Director at the DFKI, also commented: “Munich Re joining the circle of DFKI-shareholders offers enormous potential for innovation in terms of the AI methods we develop.
“The real-time demands of Munich Re’s big data analytics open up fantastic opportunities for application, particularly for our deep learning competence centre, our speech perception and machine vision technology, the interpretability of deep learning results, and sensor fusion.”
“The results of our previous work together – evaluating storm damage using aerial images while taking socio-economic parameters into account – were very positive,” Wahlster added.
“It was clear to me even when presenting the DFKI to Munich Re’s Board of Management last July that it would be a win-win situation if Munich Re were to join our circle of shareholders. I’m delighted that we were able to set this up so quickly.”