The insurance sector has a longstanding reputation of resistant to change. Who can blame those who work in this market? Avoiding risk is in all their DNA.
Surprisingly, in my experience as being a Silicon Valley insurtech serial businessperson, this characterization may not be valid. Since 2010, we now have partnered with insurers to include technologies to improve their businesses. In our daily conversations with carriers and agents, we now have seen a quickening within their adoption of new tools and new ways of doing business.
Organizations are taking some of the boldest measures forward when it comes to launching man-made intelligence (AI) projects. Recent years of heavy venture expenditure in insurtech has brought a massive array of tools to market which have been solving palpable insurance organization problems and providing easy and significant returns.
Early technologies tended that will put distance between insurers from other policyholders. Phone auto family and friends droning “Press one to speak with Sales” and voicemail that never seemed to get a come back call. Artificial intelligence equipment are different. They enhance and support the human connection and private guidance that is core towards the industry. Policyholders still want to feel like insurers understand all of them, empathize and listen. Consumers continue to crave tailored tips and advice.
From underwriting, compliance, reporting, documenting, payments, quoting, so much time can be spent on minutiae that the individuals connection gets shunted to the bottom of the priority list, and worse, the mundane or highly detailed tasks are simply wearing out the staff.
Allstate’s recent push to have personal lines agents also sell their commercial lines encountered significant challenges. Agents were starved for guidance on how to sell and support these products that were unfamiliar to them. Agents would call support lines causing delays and frustration and bogging call center queues. Allstate implemented an AI-enabled virtual agent called ABIe that “speaks” to agents to answer questions and guide them through sales and underwriting processes. ABIe handles 25, 000 agent inquiries monthly, allowing personal lines agents comprehensive, instant support and freeing up the call center queues.
Customer service and sales departments appreciate the AI tools that help locate answers, take care of details and make sure workflows are as efficient as possible for the customer as well as the staff. This lets them focus on outstanding customer service instead of regulations, requirements and databases.
This smartphone ecosystem dovetails perfectly with AI tools that give consumers what they want and how they want it, thereby improving the customer experience. A new twist has emerged with the ubiquity of smartphones — the preference for texting, chatting and messaging over calling customer service for assistance. Research has revealed that not only do over 75% of Americans own a smartphone, but most prefer to connect with brands online via web and mobile self-service interactions. Machine learning and natural language processing have found instant traction from carriers to agencies, despite some solutions being in the early stages of development.
Root, a recent entrant into the auto insurance space, connects with customers only via their smartphone app. The company sells insurance, monitors driver risk and connects with policyholders all via the phone app. Consumers benefit from the convenience of a well-designed app experience and a way to save by proving they are safer drivers.
Most well known of this set of tools are the customer-facing virtual insurance agents that have arrived in hundreds of varieties. Some live on agency websites, able to understand plain language questions and can also answer mirroring the customer’s own tone and vocabulary. Others are versatile, able to carry on conversations in WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and on voice-enabled devices like Amazon Alexa. They are able to take care of insurance claims, handle questions about billing, take payments and churn out quotes by the thousands. The sophistication of the virtual agent applications is limited only by the insurer’s imagination. Connecting with the target market using approachable, human-like automation is helping insurers stand out to current and prospective customers.
Chinese and Babylonian insurance from thousands of years ago distributed risk and trust to facilitate commerce and the advancement of society. Blockchain continues this tradition. Digital transformation increases the speed and complexity of the insurance business, so there is a growing need for certainty, trust and automation in insurance transactions. With demanding regulatory compliance requirements, evolving fraud detection and mitigation needs, swelling numbers of third-party repayments to make and a complex network of data sources, insurers is unable to work with manual processes and nonintegrated systems. Blockchain pledges trust and reliability among the list of market participants without the need to combine with each and every system.
Blockchain applications are predicted to revolutionize all aspects of insurance, but a new product offering up from AXA called Fizzy is a form of travel insurance that uses blockchain to transform travel cover by automating reimbursement pertaining to flight delays and abolished travel.
As providers gain more experience with various technology offerings, they will find out the depth of transformation they will achieve. Machine learning strategies applied to the volumes of information available to insurers make advanced analytics and business intelligence at your fingertips to even small organizations. They can affordably track merchandise performance, predict loss and fraud, offer products that will make sense with AI robotisation and blockchain-enabled trust components and even work on designing new releases for risks emerging through the current digital transformation. Improvements in AI, smartphones and blockchain unlock previously covered business growth opportunities.