- Where Insurance & Technology Meet

GenAI, Transformers, Foundation Models, and LLM – in Plain English

By Mark Breading, ReSource Pro

It seems like Generative AI emerged from nowhere in November 2022 with the introduction of ChatGPT from OpenAI. It certainly has made artificial intelligence much more visible in the public eye, resulting in its great democratization.  However, the big data revolution of the last decade-plus is really the basis for this new era, and this is especially true for generative AI in the insurance industry.

AI vs. Generative AI

The convergence of several factors has accelerated development in the AI space – these include massive increases in computing power, the prominence of cloud computing, the broad availability of open-source code, and major advances in computer science. Chief among key developments is the emergence of transformers – sets of deep learning neural networks that drive the creation of foundation models, which can be adapted and used for many types of use cases. These foundation models, trained on enormous sets of unlabeled data, can then be used for a wide variety of applications such as data extraction, object recognition, sentiment analysis, and question answering, resulting in the generation of content in many formats. Large language models are a subset of foundation models focused on text. GenAI leverages and works in concert with many other technologies in the AI family.

To help others wrap their minds around the capabilities of GenAI, the experts at ReSource Pro created this definition:

The key distinction between Generative AI and other AI technologies is that GenAI creates content resembling human-generated content, going a step beyond other AI technologies that identify, extract, organize, and analyze data, as well as execute tasks and create predictions. GenAI leverages vast stores of training data to learn patterns and then create text, images, videos, computer code, database queries, or other forms of content.                              

Use Cases for Generative AI

In addition, our newly released research report, “Generative AI in P&C Insurance: Promise and Perils for Personal and Commercial Lines,” covers the state of maturity of GenAI in P&C insurance. The report addresses how carriers are approaching the technology, potential use cases and benefits, and concerns the use of AI in business.

Ultimately, GenAI has acted as a catalyst for the use of AI in the world and in business. By democratizing AI and providing broad access to new tools, GenAI has helped many people and organizations better understand the power of AI and explore its potential for their industry.

Now, when senior executives (and others) ask about GenAI, they are often asking about AI in general. The challenges are less about technology and more about the implications and proper use of the tech. There are so many use cases for companies that the focus is more on identifying and prioritizing use cases in the context of business strategy. At the same time, the explosion of GenAI has heightened awareness of the need for AI governance, especially due to the regulatory, legal, and societal issues surrounding the technology.

Does the rapid emergence of GenAI signal that the singularity will occur sooner than we think – where machine intelligence surpasses human intelligence? Or does it point to a bright future for the human race? The answer probably lies somewhere in between.

Download our new research report here for a detailed look at the current state of generative AI for personal and commercial lines insurers.

Or, check out our Consulting offerings to learn more about how our insights, research, and insurance expertise can benefit your organization.

About The Author

Mark Breading is known for his insights on the future of the insurance industry and innovative uses of technology. Mark consults with insurers and technology companies on forward-thinking strategies for success in the digital age. His inventive methodologies, fresh ideas, creative conceptualizations, and ability to incorporate InsurTech and transformational tech in business strategies are unparalleled. He also leads SMA’s research program, publishing 25-30 research reports per year and conducting various custom research projects for insurer and vendor clients. His thought leadership in the areas of InsurTech, transformational technologies, customer experience, and digital strategies has earned him a ranking of one of the “Top Global Influencers in InsurTech” by InsurTech News and Onalytica and a place in the ten finalists for the “Top Global IoT in Insurance Influencer Award.”

Before joining SMA in 2009, Mark spent 25 years with IBM in roles including the Global Insurance Strategist and Director of Global Financial Services Executive Conferences in addition to leadership roles in consulting and marketing. Mark co-developed IBM’s Account Based Marketing program and led the global project office to implement ABM across all industry verticals worldwide. Mark has held both technical and business roles in sales, consulting, marketing, and business strategy and has advised insurers around the world for almost 30 years.

About SMA, a ReSource Pro company

At Strategy Meets Action, our clients advance their strategic initiatives and accelerate their transformational journeys by leveraging our forward-thinking insights, deep vendor knowledge, and vast industry expertise. Strategy Meets Action is an advisory firm that works exclusively with insurers, MGAs, and vendors in the P&C market. For more information, visit

About ReSource Pro

ReSource Pro brings integrated operational solutions to insurance organizations to improve growth, profitability and insurance outcomes. Headquartered in New York, ReSource Pro’s global service centers address client operational needs around the clock. Recognized as an industry thought leader and listed as one of Inc. 5000 Fastest Growing Private Companies annually since 2009, the company is renowned for its focus on innovation, service excellence and trusted partnerships, and its unique productivity platform for insurance operations. More than 5,000 ReSource Pro employees provide dedicated support to hundreds of insurance organizations, consistently achieving a +97% client retention rate over a decade. For more information, visit

SOURCE: Strategy Meets Action (SMA)