AI is helping insurers improve dramatically the customer experience they provide their policyholders.

The customer experience is fast becoming the new battleground for competitors in the insurance industry. Carriers that can quickly roll out highly-personalized real-time customer services, on a big scale, will outpace their rivals and accelerate revenue growth.

One of the keys to success in this new battleground will be the effective deployment of artificial intelligence (AI) at scale. These intelligent technologies will drive a new generation of automated customer services that are fast, efficient and a pleasure to use. They’ll also free up capacity among their human counterparts so that service staff can give customers highly-personalized information and attention.

Ninety percent of the 577 insurance executives we polled in our global 2019 Technology Vision survey agree that the integration of “customization” with “real-time delivery” will herald the next big wave of competitive advantage. Companies that take the lead early will be difficult to overhaul.

Nearly 70 percent of the insurance executives identified AI as the suite of technologies that will have the biggest impact on their organizations. Claims management and customer service are the business functions that AI is expected to influence most. Less affected will be enterprise risk management, marketing and back-office transactions.

Intelligent Customer Engagement enables organizations to use AI to boost their customer experience quickly and effectively.

We’ve seen AI boost the customer experience dramatically in our recent work with banks, telecommunications firms and utilities. AI has also curbed operating costs substantially. Some of the companies we’ve worked with have increased customer satisfaction threefold by implementing a combination of AI solutions we’ve termed Intelligent Customer Engagement). Other clients have used it to cut operating expenditure by up to 30 percent. They achieved these big performance gains by upping sales to policyholders, reducing customer churn and shifting a big portion of their service calls from cell-center staff to automated personal assistants (see illustration).

Leveraging AI at scale has enabled organization such Verizon and Sprint to boost their customer experience quickly and effectively. Our ICE implementation at Verizon, for example, recently won a top accolade at the annual Global Telecoms (Glotel) awards. The AI solution enabled Verizon to provide an enhanced customer experience that resolves requests and queries quickly and easily.

Insurers can achieve a similar uptick in the business performance by integrating AI with complementary technologies in back-office environments. Document and invoice management, for example, can be enhanced by combining optical character recognition (OCR), natural language programming (NLP) and application programming interfaces (APIs) or robotic process automation (RPA) to assess, classify and even adjudicate claims payment.

AXA Belgium, for example, is applying this approach to quickly process European Accident Statement Forms which are mandatory for the assessment of motor claims in Europe. This enables the company to use its valuable claims-staff to take decisions that affect customers instead of them being tied to mundane tasks such as data-entry. AXA Belgium, as well as several other insurers, is also applying AI-based image analysis to streamline motor loss adjustment and speed up client service.

In my next blog post, I’ll discuss why insurers should embark on large-scale AI implementations rather than focus on a narrow set of applications. In the meantime, have a look at these links. I think you’ll find them useful.

Technology Vision for Insurance 2019

Intelligent Customer Engagement (ICE) (PDF)

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