Insurers will increasingly use artificial intelligence to deliver an enhanced customer experience to their policyholders.

The fast-rising power and sophistication of artificial intelligence is transforming how insurers engage with their customers. It is dramatically enhancing the experience insurance providers can offer their policyholders.

Insurtech start-ups Lemonade, Insurify and Spixii, for example, are deploying intelligent virtual assistants to deliver a powerful customer experience and innovative digital services. Using artificial intelligence to delight customers is not the sole preserve of insurtechs. Large insurers, including Allianz, Credit Agricole, PNB MetLife, GEICO and USAA, are also applying artificial intelligence to heighten the customer experience delivered by their digital distribution channels. What’s more, carriers such as Allianz and Northwestern Mutual, as well as Vakif Emeklilik in Turkey, are using artificial intelligence to provide their customers with smart online wealth-management advice.

However, there’s another way artificial intelligence is ramping up the customer experience in the insurance industry. A growing number of insurers are looking to artificial intelligence to enhance the performance of employees who work with customers. By providing these workers with intelligent support services, such as customer-needs assessments and wealth-management projections, they can enhance substantially the customer experience they provide their policyholders.

Around 66 percent of insurers expect artificial intelligence to improve workforce productivity.

More than half the insurers we surveyed believe that collaboration between humans and intelligent machines will be important as they strive to attain their strategic priorities. Furthermore, around 66 percent of insurers expect artificial intelligence to improve workforce productivity. Nearly all of them plan to use this technology to enhance the capabilities of their workers. Already, 30 percent of the insurance employees we surveyed interact with intelligent technologies for at least half of their time at work.

Here are some of the far-sighted insurers that are already using artificial intelligence to help their employees improve the customer experience they give to policyholders:

Allstate in the US is using artificial intelligence to teach its agents to sell commercial insurance products. The Allstate business insurance expert (ABIe), developed with Earley Information Science, uses a virtual avatar to guide agents through the sales process. It can recognize each agent, identify which products they are selling, locate where they are in the sales cycle and help them complete quotes. ABIe handles more than 25 000 enquiries a month.

The Co-operative Banking Group in the UK is using an intelligent virtual assistant to help its contact center staff respond to queries more quickly. Employees can question Mia (“My Intelligent Advisor”) about a wide range of banking and insurance topics and the virtual assistant will promptly reply using its natural language capabilities. It can also update information on the company’s back-end systems. Mia has improved the efficiency of contact-center staff and accelerated response times.

Prudential in Singapore has introduced an intelligent mobile app that helps its financial consultants provide a better service to its customers. The askPRU chatbot allows consultants to use their smartphones to quickly and easily retrieve information about customers’ policies. This has reduced the number of calls the consultants need to make to Prudential’s contact center and allowed them more time to attend to the complex needs of their customers.

In my next blog post, I’ll discuss why insurers mustn’t overlook their intermediaries when they enhance the customer service they provide. Until then, have a look at these links. I think you’ll find them useful.

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