Lemonade use of emotion recognition to assess insurance claims prompts backlash

Occurred: May 2021

New York-based online insurer Lemonade retracted a series of tweets saying it uses artificial intelligence to assess and deny claims based on its customers facial and emotional characteristics.

Lemonade Inc had claimed on Twitter that its 'AI Jim' claims bot uses emotion recognition to automate the process of assessing and denying insurance claims based on 'non-verbal cues' in videos its customers must shoot to explain what had happened. 

The claim triggered intense criticism of the company, with people accusing it of potential bias and of conducting phrenology and other forms of discredited pseudoscience. 

Lemonade was forced to deny using AI or emotion recognition to 'automatically decline claims', going on to add that 'harmful concepts like phrenology and physiognomy has never, and will never, be used at Lemonade.'

The company had previously stated in a S-1 filing that its system collects approximately 1,700 customer data points from customers. It later said that this is 'about 100 times more data than traditional data carriers'. 

Operator: Lemonade Inc
Developer: Lemonade Inc
Country: USA
Sector: Banking/financial services
Purpose: Assess & process insurance claims
Technology: Facial recognition; Emotion recognition; Machine learning
Issue: Accuracy/reliability; Bias/discrimination - multiple; Phrenology
Transparency: Governance; Black box; Marketing

Page info
Type: Incident
Published: April 2022
Last updated: October 2022