How SA’s Apollo Studios helps insurance firms automate decision-making

Apollo Studios in South Africa primarily helps insurance companies leverage technology to build more efficient organizations and automate decision-making and workflow management.

Launched in 2020 and based in Johannesburg, Apollo Studios working mostly with partners in short-term insurance and related industries, such as extended service and warranty players. Using computer vision, AI, machine learning, and robotic process automation, it helps organizations to interpret events, automate decisions, and mandate actions based on newly discovered insights.

A key area of ​​focus for Apollo Studios is creating solutions to build efficiencies, particularly in the automotive insurance claims space. Apollo also specializes in robotic process automation, internet of things, business intelligence, solution architecture and custom software development.

Filum CEO Ho said Apollo Studios was born out of a need that arose from clients in auto glass and parts provider Autoboys, of which he is also CEO, during the pandemic, particularly around processes related to automation, business intelligence and AI.

“We developed an automation solution that, initially, helped one of our other businesses. But we then found ourselves asked by clients to develop similar solutions for them. As a result, a base for startups emerged, and we decided to launch Apollo Digital as a business,” he told Disrupt Africa.

The Apollo team believes there is a huge gap in the market, especially when it comes to dramatically accelerating auto insurance claims using automation and AI technology.

“For example – currently, car accident claims are a slow process involving appraisals, appraisers, and verifiers. This process sometimes takes days. However, Apollo Studios has technology that allows car owners, who have been in an accident, to receive a WhatsApp link where they upload four or five photos of their damage,” said Ho.

“Having done this, Apollo then runs the image through its AI algorithm and calculates the damage and estimates the cost of repairs and required parts, all within minutes. Insurers then look at this information and validate it to ensure they get the best price and the highest quality repairs. This further eliminates human error and, even worse, fraud. Once approved, all the consumer has to do is go to a repair center recommended by their insurance provider.

This effort alone could save insurers and consumers billions of rands each year.

“We are the first to market in South Africa with no other competitor having such a comprehensive offering in this space,” said Ho.

Apollo has a strategic shareholder in the form of African Rainbow Capital Holdings, which owns 30 percent of the company’s shares. In addition, it’s self-financed, and Ho says it expects to have a negative net burn rate by the end of the year.

“It’s still early days for us, but we’ve already received recognition from companies like Discovery Insure as our Innovation Partner of the Year for 2022. On our customer side, things are pretty new and we’re using AI components for companies like King Price and Iwyze. We also work with companies such as Santam, Botswana Insurance Company, Old Mutual and Hollard,” he said.

“All of these companies are at different stages of use – some simply use them as a pre-inspection mechanism to detect defects, while others use them as part of a more complex workflow.”

So far, Apollo operates in South Africa, Botswana and Namibia, but Ho says it is eyeing expansion across Africa, and eventually beyond. “We intend to move quickly,” he said.

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