Philip Thorn, Managing Director for Cover Wallet UK at Aon

IDEX Consulting, spoke to Phil Thorn, Managing Director for Cover Wallet UK at Aon about the business’ use of AI, the potential opportunities it will create and the benefits to employee development and training.


  • Aon has implemented a range of data models and automation to improve the customer experience and drive efficiency.
  • Aon has explored how to use AI to obtain key information from lengthy documents quickly, and how it can help with employee onboarding and training
  • When using AI tools Aon recognises there is a strong focus on data protection and cyber risk
  • Educating and inspiring professionals on the value and possible applications of emerging technologies is important for Aon to unlock opportunities

What is Cover Wallet and what do you do?

CoverWallet is Aon’s online digital platform that provides small business owners with bespoke insurance coverage for their business needs. The platform provides accurate comparison quotes from leading Insurers in minutes, helping customers to effectively manage business risk and purchase what they need simply and quickly. We’ve got experienced advisors who are also on hand to offer advice and recommendations if a client wants that support through a customer’s purchasing journey.

How are you using data, automation and AI - what benefits is it driving?

There is a range of activity happening across the business, including Natural Language Processing to help us extract key information and facts from lengthy documents quickly, to not only make better, more informed decisions but to help our customers access the information they need at a faster rate.

We are also using data and automation tools to redirect work and communications to the right place, removing manual processes which add time and cost.

Across CoverWallet, we’re also using data to gather key insights on consumer behaviour, interactions and needs. This is particularly important for designing bespoke packages, to ensure we are creating products that not only meet demand, but are importantly tailored to a specific business, including their size and the sector they operate in. Data models also enable us to make tailored product suggestions to customers based on their specific needs (e.g. ‘Customers like you also purchase…’).

Simplifying complex documents

Using large language models can be particularly helpful for analysing and summarising lengthy policy documents and wordings. Important information that is essential when training and onboarding staff, can be accessed quickly.

I’ve been involved in costly projects which have meant spending a lot of money, resource and time on training advisors on products through the use of knowledge centres and FAQ tools, AI can now help shortcut that with automation and smart technology.

So, what are the benefits?

Enhancing the colleague experience

I think, something organisations aren’t talking about as much as they possibly could, is the impact emerging technologies are having on the colleague experience, especially for more junior employees.

Insurance is notoriously complicated and in order to understand a specific principle, cover or limit, you often have to refer to multiple documents. You may find that you have the wording but information around specific exclusions might be in a separate document. Consequently, it can feel like a fragmented, time-consuming process. So how do you join those things up and make sure you obtain all of the correct information? AI tools can help do this in a much more efficient way, by transforming the traditional way of working.

The ability for Machine Learning and AI to augment human practice is incredible. This is going to be one of the biggest benefits to professionals in the future. I believe few jobs will be fully automated in the short-term as most involve some degree of relationship or creative activities which need to be done by a human. However, the ability to remove many of the repetitive, low value add processes and tasks is huge over time.

Do you have any concerns about AI or Machine Learning?

Caution around data and privacy policies is always going to be important, especially when managing customer data. It’s important to ratify the output from large language models to ensure accuracy. We also need to ensure the base data these new models need are accurate as the output will only be as good as the quality of data being accessed at the beginning. With many insurers still using legacy systems with data in multiple places/systems/formats, this will be a challenge for some.

Have you created any roles or streamlined any teams?

Across Aon, we’ve employed specialists to drive automation practices and aspects of our technology strategy. There are many instances across the business where we’re building proof of concepts, using a range of skillsets to deliver that.

I think the impact on UK employment and roles is positive. For many roles, there’s at least 20% of tasks that could be automated and streamlined to free up our time to focus on more strategic work or activities that require human intelligence. This is going to add real value.

What future skills are you looking for from employees in an AI powered future?

It’s essential at the mid to senior level, that we’re hiring or educating people who have an appreciation of future technology models and the art of the possible. I think in order to make this work and give it the attention and drive it needs, you need to tear the rule book up and explore how AI can augment our work and replace certain tasks. The more people you work with, who can drive the change and transformation required, the better.

Obviously for technical specialist teams and roles, it will be incredibly important for professionals to have the specific technical and data skills. For those in less technical roles, like client managers, it will be more around understanding the value of AI, and collaborating with those deploying the technology to make jobs easier.

Overall, it’s going to be extremely important for businesses to educate, inspire and coach their employees on the opportunities AI will create, not to fear it, but to embrace it.

Do you think organisations will need to adapt their hiring strategies to attract AI skilled talent?

Yes, I think it’s going to be a continued focus for companies to stay competitive and differentiate themselves as an employer of choice, especially for the specialist technology/engineering/data professionals. For larger corporates, it’s around differentiating themselves from tech start-ups to attract and retain the best talent. How can they create a really attractive employer brand and show that people will be empowered with the freedom and creativity to work on exciting new projects that really make a difference. Many technology specialists may be concerned about their ability to drive change and work on transformational projects in larger and highly regulated insurance organisations so we need to ensure it is an attractive sector for the best tech brains across the world.


If you need support with your insurance or need more information on Aon’s services and how they can help, visit their website or contact them on 03300 545244 or