Chatbots in Financial Services – an Automated Insurance Agent

RapidValue

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Chatbots in finance
At 5:00PM, on a busy day, a notification on Brian’s mobile caught his attention. He was leaving for home from work. It was a chat notification. Brian opened his chat application and the message was from Leslie, from the Insurance Company, where he had applied for his life insurance policy. She sent a ‘Congratulations!’ message stating that his insurance was through and confirmed. Brian had few questions on his mind, but he had to drive back home. He messaged Leslie at around 8:00PM to get his queries answered about his insurance policy. He wasn’t expecting Leslie to respond until next day morning. Leslie, however, responded in less than a minute and kept responding to all the questions, he put forth, on details such as premiums, due dates, etc. Brian was happy with the support. What he didn’t know was that the person he was chatting with on the Insurer’s application was not Leslie, but a Chatbot.

There will soon be ‘a bot for that’!

Chatbots can, potentially, create an entirely new way of interacting with customers by providing automated ordering, notifications, help desk functionality and many more. Chatbots are making their presence felt on Facebook , Google and Skype, functioning as robotic customer service representatives. Rich API allows to, efficiently, process messages and the Chatbots respond with images, links, call-to-action buttons and direct payments. Bots make it more personal, more proactive, and the methods more streamlined,  the way the insurers to interact with their customers.

Chatbots can take over traditional customer service functions, and could fetch significant savings of around US$ 28 billion worth, overall.

Chatbots in Insurance Industry

The technology has been, widely, used in the insurance industry for over a decade and interestingly, most of the Chatbots are given human-like names to make them more personal.

  • Allie is Allianz’s virtual online assistant and can be accessed l from the company’s homepage. She is available 24/7 to answer questions about a wide range of insurance products.
  • Arbie, the little blue-suited man, works for RBC Insurance in Canada. Users type in their question and receive one right answer, links to get more information and dynamically, generated list of relevant top ten questions asked by other users.
  • Magda is the virtual advisor for Link4, Poland’s first motor insurance policy sold online. Magda, apart from supporting the internet sales channel by connecting the user to advisor, also, replies to questions such as: how to pay premiums, what is the compensation payout process, how to extend insurance, how to report a car sale, what can be insured when renting a property, and what to look out for when choosing an insurance company.
  • Nienke is a Dutch Chatbot, talking to Nationale-Nederlanden’s (NN) customers about insurance. She answers all questions about the insurances and services of Nationale Nederlanden. Apart from the answer she also, provides frequently asked questions (FAQs) related to the subject of the customer’s interest.
  • Mia stands for My Interactive Adviser, living on the Co-operative Banking Group’s intranet. She works alongside the real contact center employees, instantly providing them with the correct answers to a wide range of banking and insurance questions.
  • Marc works for Credit Agricole’s health insurance in France, answering questions concerning the products/services and analyzes user’s needs to provide an adapted offer.
  • Hanna is a Chatbot for the Swedish Social Insurance Agency. She helps users navigate, gives information about social insurance, how to apply for benefits and answer questions concerning e-legitimation.

Chatbots works, efficiently, as the automated insurance agent. It allows insurance firms to deploy distribution, claims and customer service, straight into the platform.

Vast majority of inbound calls are to, either, make very basic changes to a policy or to ask a question which, for the most part, would be easy to answer so long as the agent or system has access to contextual data surrounding the caller. Examples of this would be policy endorsements, like requesting a basic certificate of insurance, or asking a question related to current coverage. Questions like these could be very quickly answered by Chatbots.

It allows both, the customer and the insurer to retain conversations from the last interaction. It makes sense for insurers to spend time and energy there–working on making the interactions far more efficient for customers. Customers will, also, be able to opt-in to receive personalized updates – like policy confirmation, premium reminders etc.

More than one-third of customers prefer using social media rather than the telephone for customer support, and most consumers expect a response within an hour, if not faster. That’s a little taxing for insurers, but the enhanced AI, through Chatbots, makes it feasible to accommodate.

This is the age of the socially empowered consumer, and he/she will, only, decide where and when they want to engage.

Let the Employees Chat and Enhance Productivity

Insurers need to simplify complication and answer questions, like, what was the lapse ratio in the last quarter or train an employee on Insurance terminologies.

Overstock, the American online retailer, uses ‘Mila’, a Chatbot, to call in sick, instead of calling or using call center to leave a message. Company can fill schedules and replace workers, faster. In addition to call in sick, employees can use Mila to schedule time off, check their schedules, and do a variety of other tasks that used to require making a phone call, sending an e-mail, or talking to a fellow human. Those seconds for each employee turn into dollars.

A lot of big companies are betting big on bots, including Microsoft, Slack, Google and Facebook. Facebook’s Messenger has 1 billion regular users, each month, and supports over 60 billion messages every day.

Insurers can integrate Chatbot into their own applications and/or develop them for chat applications like Messenger. Which one would you prefer?

Whichever option you choose from, the age of the chatbot is upon us.

By,

Radhakrishnan NR

Principal Consultant – FinTech, RapidValue

 

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