UK legaltech startup Orbital Witness offers world first "AI reliance" insurance for accuracy

Orbital Witness builds AI-powered software that accelerates the legal due diligence and client reporting process - and reduces the risk of human error.
UK legaltech startup Orbital Witness offers world first

UK-based legaltech startup Orbital Witness has announced a pioneering partnership with First Title Insurance, part of the First American Financial Corporation.

This collaborationthe first of its kind anywhere in the worldwill offer AI Reliance, an insurance-backed accuracy guarantee for a legaltech AI product. 

This signifies a major milestone for the use of generative AI in professional services such as law and conveyancing.

Launched in 2018, Orbital Witness builds AI-powered software that accelerates the legal due diligence and client reporting process - and reduces the risk of human error - for more than 60,000 property transactions every year, from individual home sales to multi-million-pound commercial property deals. 

Launched in 2018, their real-estate-specific technology is now used in 60,000 property transactions annually by over 4,000 professionals, streamlining the traditionally paperwork-heavy due diligence process.

Current clients include most of the top-ranked real estate teams, such as Linklaters, Herbert Smith Freehills, and Clifford Chance, as well as a variety of global enterprises that own, occupy, or advise on real estate, such as PwC, Zurich, E.ON, Marks & Spencer, and Tesla.

Underwritten AI

After extensive due diligence and testing over many months, First Title will underwrite Orbital Witness' Generative AI product output. This means that in the event of an error resulting in a compensation claim, First Title's insurance policy would kick in. 

First Title will initially underwrite AI Reliance policies for law firm customers of Orbital Witness's residential property product, Orbital Residential, without requiring the law firm to claim on its professional indemnity insurance.

The quality, accuracy and robustness of Orbital Witness's AI technology, backed by First Title, will enable law firms to take full advantage of Generative AI for tasks that are typically repetitive and time-consuming, reducing human error and costs while increasing efficiencies. Under the terms of the partnership, First Title will provide a significant level of insurance coverage that matches the level of professional indemnity insurance the law firms are required to carry under regulation.

Against a broader backdrop of growing regulatory interest in AI, the move also sets a precedent to show how AI products that carry insurance can help firms demonstrate the standards expected by industry regulators.

According to Ed Boulle, Co-Founder and Chief Strategy Officer of Orbital Witness: 

"Law is a highly regulated sector. Law firms are ultimately responsible for the services they provide to their clients.

When adopting any new technology, firms must be able to satisfy the regulator (and their own insurers) that new technology is safe to use and won't create additional risks to their clients. 

Generative AI is no different from other technologies in this respect."

However most firms simply don't have the necessary expertise in-house to deeply evaluate and continuously monitor generative AI products. Insurance isn't just about downside protection, it can also help with the burden of compliance. 

First Title will continue to test and monitor Orbital Witness' generative AI output on an ongoing basis."

Kevin Dick, CEO at First Title, comments: 

"AI is increasingly being applied to speed up and reduce the cost of real estate transactions. Law firms and conveyancing businesses need greater confidence that the AI technology they adopt is safe to use, can be relied upon and is compliant. 

First Title's innovative insurance policy is the first of its kind and stands to be transformational in the professional services industries, creating a benchmark for other AI providers to aspire to."

Orbital Witness is registered to distribute insurance on behalf of First Title by the Financial Conduct Authority. Boulle concludes:

"We might be the first AI provider to integrate insurance into our product, but we won't be the last. Before long, insurance will – and indeed, should – form part of the framework within which businesses will be expected to use AI in a way that is guaranteed, financially accountable and compliant."

In 2024, Orbital Witness won 'Legal AI Supplier of the Year' at the Modern Law Awards and received the 'Conveyancing Collaborators of the Year' award at the British Conveyancing Awards.

Lead image: Will Pearce and Ed Boulle, co-founders, Orbital Witness. Photo: uncredited. 

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