How Chatbots Can Help Insurers Drive Customer Interaction?

by December 26, 2017 0 comments

Authored By Srini Peyyalamitta, Head of Banking & Financial Services at Aspire Systems

Unlike other industries, handling insurance procedures is never a piece of cake. Customers dread the idea of going through a lengthy process, elaborate questionnaires, never-ending background verifications, difficulty in understanding complex insurance jargons and a cumbersome customer service.

Adding to the woes, insurance is one of the most affected by several disruptions like technological advancements, changing customer behaviour and market competition.

But the good thing is that insurers do not want to leave any stone unturned to transform the customer experience. For this reason, they have realized the importance of innovating and remaining competitive by offering easy and flexible claim processes through chatbots and other virtual assistants.

The pressure to excel in technology comes from the growing tech-savvy customers who want insurers to process their requests without much hassle and delay. As consumers are spending more time on messaging apps and they find it more convenient, insurers can leverage this platform through chatbots to offer uninterrupted conversational service to their customers.

Challenges That Curb the Growth of Insurance Market

With the advances in artificial intelligence and Natural Language Processing (NLP), chatbots have come a long way when compared to their first generation commercial chatbots in improving customer service. Because of this, insurance companies are now more eager than ever to invest and experiment with chatbots and other virtual assistants that are powered by artificial intelligence despite several challenges like the below in order to stay ahead in the competition.

  • Difficult market conditions with reduced organic growth
  • New digital savvy entrants
  • Legacy systems
  • Lack of customer focus
  • Multiple regulatory compliances that are inconsistent and varying
  • IT maintenance cost

Significance of Chatbots

Chatbots are nothing but robots that chat with customers instead of a human being. With 70% of customers buying insurance on their phone, there has been a great demand for chatbots to instantly communicate with customers as they have proven to handle millions of one-one conversations and offer better insurance buying experience across various touchpoints. This proves Gartner’s prediction that by 2020, AI bots will power 85% of all customer interactions.

#1 Easy to Build and Deploy

Chatbots are easier to build and deploy when compared to building mobile apps. There are several platforms like Chatfuel, Facebook’s bots for messenger, Microsoft bot framework etc. where you can easily integrate your chatbot. For instance, PayPal’s chatbot is built through Facebook Messenger in order to help users track their receipts.

#2 Faster, Better Customer Service

Customers hate to wait. In a customer-driven world, customers expect insurers to be reliable, respond fast and seamlessly handle complex customer queries because it doesn’t take long before they find your competitor.

For this reason, AI-powered chatbots have become quite prominent because of its ability to instantly engage with customers as it’s seen that chatbots can handle 70% to 80% of queries without a glitch. Moreover, chatbots help insurers to cut down on various expensive interactions with traditional customer care centres and others by streamlining interactions through AI technologies.

#3 Automating the Claims Process

As the digital conversation platform is advancing further, chatbots are receiving more human-like attributes so that customers don’t find the difference between talking to a human or a chatbot. Not only that, chatbots can literally crunch data, review claim information, make recommendations, flag discrepancies and automate the claims process through chatbots.

For instance, American P&C insurer, Allstate’s ‘ABIe’ walks agents through the entire commercial selling process and even understands the product details that the agents are working on. The ‘intelligent assistant’ is becoming the insurer’s primary communication channel by reducing the call centre traffic and helping agents with the quoting process.

Grabbing Millennial Attention

Studies show that millennials make a good share of potential customers mostly because 40% of millennials say that they interact with chatbots daily. Moreover, millennials are most dependent on smartphones and nearly 63% of them would consider messaging an online chatbot to get in touch with a business.

  • For instance, customers at Buyonic Insurance Agency in Austin, TX, are greeted not by a human but by Siber, the blue-eyed, bald company principal. Siber can rate, bind and issue policies on the spot, while answering phones and making robocalls.
  • Likewise, USAA added Nuance Communications’ virtual assistant (Nina) to its existing mobile customer service apps to enable speech recognition, text-to-speech, voice biometrics and NPL capabilities.
  • PolicyPal, a Singaporean insurtech uses its AI-enabled chatbot that is powered by IBM Watson Conversation where the chatbot is trained to help users make informed decisions in choosing and handling their coverages.
  • Insurance start-up Lemonade’s Maya and Jim are more than just chatbots. They help customers set up their complete insurance policy simply through text conversations.

Final Thoughts

Satya Nadella, Microsoft CEO rightly said, “People-to-people conversations, people-to-digital assistants, people-to-bots … that’s the world you’re going to get to see in the years to come.”

With the proliferation of messaging apps, insurance companies should recognize the importance of chatbots that are fueled by AI to consistently improve sales and customer experience. This is because chatbots are key to the future of business intelligence and insurers should take this as an opportunity to grow by offering unprecedented levels of customer support.

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