Global Insurance Market Rapidly Adopting Chatbots
Global Insurance Market Rapidly Adopting Chatbots
Insurers both massive and small rely on efficient customer interactions to keep their users happy and paying their premiums. Chatbots are the natural successor to current customer service efforts, removing those long hold queues, impenetrable form filling and helping the business get to know its customers better.
While much of the digital economy excitement is over fintechs, insurtechs and blockchain, with pundits yelling “disruption” from every blog post, the insurance industry is smoothly moving up to an AI, chatbot and service-based model to keep maintain growth. For insurers, chatbots can augment apps and websites, appear on social media and help customers avoid wait times or burrowing through FAQs, and much more.
From the largest global insurer to local businesses, growing the customer base and keeping them satisfied remains the No. 1 challenge. Technology has helped a lot over the decades, with databases, global insurance markets and online signups. And, when it comes to customer interaction, the whole market has been eager to adopt the chatbot as a customer service agent to improve the speed at which insurance does business and to help speed up renewals and even claims.
Whatever the segment, from home to auto, personal to travel, every area of the insurance market is looking to a near future where the majority of interactions are handled by a smart chatbot to avoid hold queues and speed up information transfer. All of which frees up agents to deal with more complex issues, evidence gathering and checking for fraud (another area where AI is helping insurers!)
While there is still much to discuss about bots in insurance, the reality is many bots are already helping serve millions of customers, and those insurers without bots will only fall further behind as bots become a familiar and useful part of the market landscape.
Automotive Insurance Companies Driving Adoption
Auto Insurers are getting into chatbots and apps in a big way, with progressive insurance services offering apps that monitor driving quality and can adjust insurance rates or pay bonuses depending on the driver following the rules of the road and their driving style. Others will vary rates based on the number of miles driven, all of which encourages the customer toward an app/bot based series of interactions.
But signing people up still requires diving into the cutthroat market of comparing rates, and getting alerts when prices change. A chatbot like Insurify provides a quick quote based on a brief online chat, while apps like Cuvva can provide short-term insurance cover for a set of hours or days, making it more like a service that is accessible to those frequently changing vehicles or drivers. The Health market loves its bots.
With a more dynamic market and changing customer and legislative environment, the health market is always changing fast with technology at the forefront of evolution. Health apps and smartwatches are having a big impact on how insurers measure and reward health.
Chatbots too are making it easier for customers to get insurance, and to find out more about particular conditions, without having to resort to medical experts or random googling. Within the industry, bots like Spixii are helping to disrupt traditional insurers by changing how people go through those compare the market type services, so there is pressure from all sides for insurers to up their game.
Early results from bots indicate a decent success rate. Australian insurer Nib’s bot Nibby, one of the first private health insurance chatbots saw a 70% success rate across 20,000+ conversations, and saved 535 hours of consultant handling time. Bots don’t stop there, the likes of Nibby can be upgraded and improved to deal with a wider range of queries or deliver more specific or useful information, so those success numbers and time saved should continue to rise.
Travel Insurance Demands Instant Response
While there’s often little time pressure on car or health insurance, travel insurance is one of the fastest moving segments of the market. If someone needs to be in Brazil tomorrow, they don’t have time to hold on the phone.
Bots can also support credit card and other payment methods to make for a seamless purchase of insurance. Take the likes of Jiffy Jane, Singapore firm NTUC Income’s travel insurance bot billed an always-on personal travel insurance concierge to enable the purchase of suitable travel insurance instantly. ‘Jiffy Jane’ was soft launched on 1 August 2018, and in the first weeks hosted over 1,100 chat sessions with around 780 unique users. These conversations led to a total of 30 completed transactions. Considering the results, Income’s COO Peter Tay noted that “Customers, especially the millennial, are used to accessing a range of services and products on their mobile devices. As such, it is natural that more customers expect insurance products to also be available online, customised to their needs in a very short span of time.”
As well as offering insurance, bots can also help resolve or initiate claims. Also in Singapore, FWD is just the latest firm to allow claims to be made 24/7 through a chatbot, all changing the ways the traditional insurance business is keeping up with the times. Clear cut cases of insurance loss or damage can be solved in minutes using a bot or app, resulting in happier customers who find these less stressful than going through the usual procedures.
With airlines, airports, hotels and other parts of the travel chain rapidly adopting chatbots as the go-to method of customer interaction, travel insurers are following fast on their heels as the combined market moves to an instant-response level for sales and reaction.
Insurers Shout About Bot Success
Note the rise of these bots in Asia where customers are more used to an automated service. Whatever the segment, the Asian market is one to watch for developments as they lead the way due to the volume of customers and their mobile-first ecosystems. In the west, some insurers still seem to be resistant to bots, while others consider them sideshow experiments, but the number of bots continues to grow and the results continue to improve as both vendors, insurers and bot technology improves in addressing particular markets.
One issue that can be hard to get into is getting the hard data on chatbot success. For a lot of insurers, their bots are still considered beta tests, so they don’t want to talk figures. Others consider their success a competitive advantage and don’t want to tip off rivals. However, increasingly, as bots become a common sight across websites and apps, more numbers are coming to light.
Insurance giant Zurich’s Zara chatbot has made a dramatic impression across the industry, with the company highlighting a range of major highlights that shows the bot is winning over customers and improving the business :
- Net Promoter Score +82 since going live, initially as a pilot back in February 2018.
- Zara services 20% of Personal Lines Home and Motor customers who report claims on a monthly basis.
- All claims or queries made through Zara are responded to within 3 working hours.
- Expanded Zara into Zurich’s broker community, with Civil Service Insurance Society and others pointing their customers to Zara to support their own digital strategies and ensuring a unified digital customer journey.
- Zara provides a 24/7/365 internally resourced claims reporting provision; removing complexity with outsourced providers (who are still there, should our customers require human intervention for complex claims).
- Introduced image submissions during summer, and new for 2019 allows customers to send video evidence of losses or damage.
- Adding early claims notifications in preview for surge/weather events, providing risk guidance and support pre-loss.
With many other areas of the market, and types of insurers catering for niche needs, the massive global insurance market is a key adopter of chatbot technology. Whatever the size of the business or the opportunity a chatbot will soon be a key feature for any insurer to appeal to their potential and active customers.
Chatbots and the Benefits for Insurers
As discussed, chatbots offer proven business benefits - they are available 24/7, offer no wait time, can deal with thousands of users at once. They can also be updated regularly or instantly, and help handle major issues like telecoms outages, and those insurance nightmares of widespread disasters or media-led consumer panic.
Bots also offer a range of other benefits. Once someone has chatted to a bot and had a positive experience or outcome, the visitor is more likely to follow up in future - going direct to the bot over other methods. That's why chatbots are so popular for insurers, driving down the usage of costly call centres. Bots with a dose of character can also help build that link with the customer, unlike whichever call agent they reach on the phone.
Other benefits are that chatbots can be integrated into the businesses’ website, app, social media and Facebook Messenger or others feeds. The chatbot can represent the insurer almost anywhere online, and as more people get smart home services like Amazon Echo or Alexa, they can use voice mode to continue the conversation.
For insurers looking to adopt chatbot technology, SnatchBot provide a complete solution. Our proprietorial NLP engine means you don’t have to go outside our platform to connect the chatbot’s conversational structure to AI.
Insurance into the Future
While some insurers may only just be getting on the chatbot wagon, the market is already moving ahead, with an industrywide look at Insurance 2025. In an era of smarter (possibly flying) self-driving cars, fast-moving life-changing events and other upheavals, people will need instant decisions, while bots will talk to each other to arrange trip-by-trip insurance in the machine-to-machine age.
As this IBM slide points out, a convergence of the Intenet of Everything, centralised intelligence, a swarm economy and survival of those businesses that can adapt fastest means that insurers need to continue to keep pace and adapt faster.
While specialist and industrial insurers will always need expert underwriters and brokers (read this industry roundtable chat), the drumbeat for consumer AI and bot-based interactions will only grow.
Providing a concierge service for all sizes and types of insurer, chatbots will provide an increasingly important role. And, as AI becomes a key part of the health market, chatbots provide a great way to acclimatise your clients to the technology and help encourage the use of other smart products to encourage good driving, positive health and lifestyle choices, and other ways to add value to the insurance products.