Meet Herman, AirHelp’s Robot Lawyer, Who Will Save Time, Money & Frustration … For Everyone
AirHelp has spent the past four years making a name for ourselves as a technology company that helps disrupted passengers file and win claims for their deserved compensation. But along this journey, our team of innovators, working around the clock in more than fifteen countries, has begun to fulfill its larger vision. To disrupt the air travel industry, revolutionize legal technology and create an unmatched startup culture of collaboration and innovation. As you know, we have been amassing a unique data system, technology platform and software expertise about how to handle air passenger claims. We have invested millions of dollars in this area, surpassing the efforts of any other company in the industry. And as a result, our company is able to offer a full-fledged claim analytics software that can assess your claim’s eligibility, and if necessary, determine the optimal route for legal action. Great customer service still requires real people, but the spearhead of our operations are technology driven, enabling us to handle claims at a far less cost than e.g. airlines. Our pursuit into this software has led us to develop legal tech, which we believe can deliver value to new markets, serving not only disrupted passengers, but consumers in general, who are faced with a legal conflict. Christian Nielsen, AirHelp’s Chief Legal Officer, along with his team consisting of Simona Staglianò (Senior Legal Counsel), Piotr Rosiak (Data Engineer), Daria Michalska (Head of Design), Agnieszka Woch (Legal Assistant) and Gosia Gulgowska (Former Head of Product), recently worked on an exciting new initiative. Imagine a technology that’s fifty percent legal, fifty percent data, but one hundred percent robot.
What inspired this new innovation?
AirHelp has multiple rules, variables and factors that must be considered when deciding to file a claim and take legal action for a passenger. But it’s too complicated. We have to move between various flow charts to do all that work. We have to assess whether it’s a claim worth filing, and choose the right jurisdiction to do so. And the problem is, for human beings to follow all these rules, they have to think. A lot. Which creates room for error and is too time consuming. That’s when we thought to ourselves, wait, what if a computer could do the work for us?
How did the team execute on this idea?
During our 2016 Winter Hackathon, we created an artificial intelligence, who we call Herman. It is a robot lawyer. Neither a male or female, it can predict the most optimal jurisdiction for all our EC261 claims, should it be necessary to take legal action. It uses these rules like a human would, but in a fraction of the time spent.
Cool! Tell us specifically how Herman works…
Herman has been coded a simple artificial brain. Whenever we feed it with details of a EC 261 claim, such as operating airline, departure airport, arrival airport, passenger country, it will run its brain on the feed and suggest the most optimal jurisdiction for legal action. It can even run more complex bookings with several legs and has a worldwide database of airline headquarters and branches.
Excellent. What else happens inside Herman’s brain?
The most important part of its brain is its jurisdiction logic. Herman will not tell you the logic, since it is one of AirHelp’s secret sauces. It was a challenge to write the logic in a way that Herman can use, but we managed, and now our agents just ping Herman. In fact, Herman has already recommended a jurisdiction for all of our hundreds of thousands of claims. He did that in less than a second.
And what about the name? Does the word “Herman” have a significance?
Herman’s name is a combination of the legendary military tank named Sherman; and Wallentin Hermann, one of the most crucial decisions from the European Court of Justice for the protection of air passenger rights in Europe. It is a bit nerdy, but also very cool!
So, how do you think Herman will impact our teams on a daily basis?
Since our goal is to always increase customer satisfaction, Herman’s automation of our EC261 claims will help delegate as many tasks and decisions to software as possible. It will make our account management process more efficient. And it will free up the team’s time to spend more on complicated claims, new claim markets and new legal products.
Nice. I can already hear the claims team celebrating. And how might Herman have an impact on the legal tech industry as a whole?
AirHelp is still perceived as a claim management company. But by developing innovations like Herman, we are positioning ourselves in pursuit of new markets. I am eyeing the market for legal services to consumers or others who cannot afford pricy human lawyers. Actually, I do not want to call it “legal” services, but a service for people who are in a conflict with a business or authority and need help to level the playing field. We have previously coined “Justice as a Service”, which I think describes it well. It is not justice in a legal sense, but in the broadest sense of fairness. There is a very large mass of people, who cannot afford justice. We want to help these people.
Really? Are you implying that Herman is planning to expand its “robot family” in the near future? Is there a Hermanette in the picture?
As I said, Herman is neither a male or female. Simply Herman. But Herman is just the first example in hopefully many technologies to come. The legal industry is currently under-disrupted and favors only the rich. There are plenty of opportunities to shake things up.
Well I’m sold. Herman is my homeboy. What is the vision going forward?
All of our goals have one thing in common: Empowering consumers. You have heard of public health services, and you know that the same services, often better and faster, are provided by private companies, private hospitals, etc. And you have heard of the public organizations that help consumers, i.e., NEB, the consumer ombudsman, etc. Just imagine one day when a private one exists too. An alternative when the public one fails. AirHelp steps in.
Wow. That’s a whole new definition of “air help.” Nice work!
We are so proud of our development, data, legal and product teams. Herman is only the first innovation in our forthcoming efforts to build exciting legal, tech and travel products. Together we are showing the world that our data and software capabilities cannot be beaten. Special thanks to everyone involved, including Simona, Piotr, Daria, Aga and Gosia.
Final question. Will Herman make an appearance at our company meeting in Gdansk this summer?
Hopefully! Although Herman vacations in Bali over the summer, so we’ll see what its availability is. Flight delays happen, but that doesn’t mean you have to accept them. You may be entitled to as much as $680 in compensation if your flight was delayed, canceled or overbooked within the last three years.