How AI Can Change The Way We Think About Insurance

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While insurance is an integral component of our lives, it can often seem like a chore—with sensitive information, stressful situations, and long wait times all contributing to frustrating customer experiences. But the industry is at an inflection point; it’s undergoing a digital transformation that has the potential to make the insurance process more convenient, personalized, and possibly even enjoyable.

In the past several years, the insurance industry has seen a significant shift from traditional to automated customer service; in fact, more than 80% of CEOs say that AI is a part of their business models or will be in the coming years. At the same time, cognitive and AI system spending is expected to rise to $77 billion by 2022. It’s clear that executives understand that they must invest in sophisticated technologies, but where and how they apply them will be the determining factor in their effectiveness. As AI investments continue to grow, here are the three core aspects of the insurance process where AI is poised to make the biggest impact.

Enrollment: First impressions matter

The making of a happy customer starts right at the beginning of their insurance journey—that is, when they enroll in a new policy. Enrollment is the first time that a customer interacts with their provider, so it sets the tone for the future of the entire relationship and can be a defining factor in customer loyalty. Strategically incorporating AI right at the outset of the relationship can ensure that a customer’s first interaction with your company will be both personalized and consistent.

In particular, sophisticated AI-powered virtual assistants can enable seamless, efficient, real-time enrollment—with no hold or wait times—allowing each customer to feel confident in their provider choice right from the start. This also builds the long-term loyalty that companies crave.

Privacy: Put consumers (and their data) first

Like in banking or collections, insurance agents interact with customers’ personal information every day. While this sensitive exchange of data is crucial for the job—it helps customers get the best deals for their unique circumstances—it also represents a potential pain point for callers who worry about sharing private information with another human being. In fact, a survey from my company found that 70% of consumers report being okay with bypassing a human agent when discussing personal finances.

With that, companies that implement AI platforms have the opportunity to make consumers feel more comfortable throughout their entire transaction, knowing that they won’t be judged. AI-powered virtual assistants are often built to interact like humans—but they’ll never actually be humans, so customers can experience personalized yet judgment- and risk-free transactions. At the same time, conversational AI platforms free up valuable agent time to engage in conversations that require human empathy (think: life insurance claims). What’s more, sophisticated security design principles can focus on data protection, such as encryption and redaction of sensitive data, which is paramount for customer trust.

Claims: Build trust through simplicity

As both agents and customers know, managing claims can be one of the most stressful aspects of the insurance process. And when the claim is needed in a time of crisis—like a car wreck or a house fire—agents are on the front lines of the chaos. If agents can make the claims process easier for stressed customers, those compassionate and efficient interactions will increase customer loyalty and trust. By leveraging AI-powered virtual assistants, agencies can streamline claims by eliminating hold times, repetition, and incorrect transfers that force customers to start all over again. Subsequently, agents have more time to engage with customers who need a human touch.

As more insurance providers invest in AI, it’s vital that they prioritize the most impactful areas in which to focus their efforts. With every step of the customer journey involving some combination of sensitive information and difficult life circumstances, AI has an opportunity to transform dated, frustrating insurance processes into experiences that inspire confidence, trust and comfort among consumers.

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