A project to develop breakthrough artificial intelligence technology for the anti-fraud sector is one of a number of new projects set to receive funding to enable the UK accountancy, insurance and legal services industries to transform how they operate.

The software being developed by Intelligent Voice, Strenuus and the University of East London will combine AI and voice recognition technology to detect and interpret emotion and linguistics to assess the credibility of insurance claims.

Insurance fraud cost the UK £3 billion in 2017, equating to £10,400 per fraudulent claim, and costing consumers an extra £50 per policy.

The project is one of 40 backed by £13 million in government investment to support collaborative industry and research projects to develop the next-generation of professional services.

Awards were made across 2 competitions: £6m was awarded across four large collaborative projects addressing sector-wide challenges across supply chains or regulators, while £7m was awarded across 36 smaller projects looking specifically at applying AI and data techniques.

Other examples include an online bot which will use artificial intelligence to provide quick answers to legal questions online, an analysis tool which looks at images collected by drones to assess flood-damaged areas, using a 3D image recognition system to evaluate flood extent and depth alongside impacts on buildings and infrastructure to help with insurance claim assessments, and artificial intelligence software that will analyse accounting data and suggest ways for businesses to cut expenditure, suggesting new deals on gas, water and electricity bills.

Business Secretary Greg Clark said: “Artificial intelligence and data are transforming industries across the world.

“We are combining our unique heritage in AI with our world beating professional services to put the UK at the forefront of these cutting-edge technologies and their application.

“We want to ensure businesses and consumers benefit from the application of AI - from providing quicker access to legal advice for customers, to tackling fraudulent insurance claims, these projects illustrate our modern Industrial Strategy in action.

“We’re investing record levels in research and development so that every part of the UK can benefit from the industries and high-skilled jobs of the future.”

The projects are part of the £20m Next Generation Services Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.

UK Research and Innovation chief executive Professor Sir Mark Walport said: “The service industry around the world is being transformed by information technology. The Next Generation Services Challenge offers important opportunities for transformation of the legal, insurance and accountancy sectors across the UK.

“Through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund we are building on UK expertise in artificial intelligence and data science to deliver benefits that will be felt in the services sector and beyond.”

The research and development projects will begin work from this month and could see initiatives rolled out in the industries by 2020/21.