Personalized insurance services are beginning to make inroads across all lines of business and across the value chain.

As I noted in the first post in this series, there’s a clear appetite among consumers for personalized financial services. This applies equally in the insurance industry. In my last post we saw a snapshot of five insurers delighting their customers with personalized services. But what are some other directions we expect insurers to take on the road to personalization?

Personalized insurance across all lines

Working with carriers around the globe, we’re seeing personalized services beginning to make inroads across all lines of business. In the home insurance sector, for example, some insurers are considering the use of smart-home technology for monitoring mishaps such as water leakage. Connected-home devices can alert homeowners and insurers so that they can prevent or minimize the damage. And carriers can offer further assistance by recommending or even arranging for a technician or tradesperson to perform repairs. Insurers can improve customer retention through free add-on services and, when damage is minimized and losses reduced, discounts at renewal time.

In the health insurance sector, insurers might consider building an AI-enabled tool to capture and store customers’ health records—obtaining this information either directly from customers or, with customers’ permission, from hospitals. Based on this data, carriers could use predictive analysis techniques to schedule an appointment with a doctor on a customer’s behalf, send alerts to customers about taking certain health measures, or send reminders of routine health checkups or the need to schedule a doctor’s appointment.

Personalized services across the value chain

Personalized services can also be offered across the insurance value chain. In marketing, for example, insurers could analyze a customer’s preferences, creating a profile based on their social media posts and using behavioral tracking to gauge their potential interest in related products. Insurers could also use AI to identify customers’ personality types, and adjust the tone of marketing messages accordingly. Or they could use augmented reality (AR) with geolocation to highlight the potential for damage to a customer’s vehicle, home or possessions, and advise customers of the coverage they need to protect their personal property.

In underwriting, insurers could leverage data—from health-tracking devices, connected-home devices and connected-car devices—and advanced analytics to personalize offerings, prices and discounts. And when servicing policies, carriers could use AI-enabled bots and continuous learning to improve customer interactions, route calls appropriately to a human operator based on customer tone, and gain greater insights and deeper understanding of customers.

In the case of auto or home insurance, if an accident occurs, with the help of IoT-connected sensors, claims processing could be triggered automatically. Or, using geotagging, information about the nearest doctor or service center could be sent to customers automatically. AI could also be used to guide customers so that they provide the right kind of evidence, including suitable images, for a claim.

Personalized interactions with customers

We’re also seeing a shift in the area of personalized interactions, with Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s Google Assistant raising the bar on customer expectations. Gone are the days when people waited endlessly for their calls to be answered by an agent or customer service representative. In their place, we now have bots, such as Lemonade’s Maya or Accenture’s CATHY, that answer calls and do so much more. These sophisticated bots evolve over multiple interactions, getting smarter with every conversation.

Manulife is one carrier that has leveraged the Amazon Echo to advise customers about coverage and limits for their health insurance. Customers can ask the Echo questions such as, “How much is left of my health insurance?” Aviva, too, uses the service to provide customers with quotes for their auto insurance. Customers just mention their car make and model, and the bot answers in seconds.

Since customers have shown their willingness to talk to bots, carriers are investing in these technologies. Their goal: to save unnecessary operational expenses and reduce the number of human staff needed in customer service roles. However, human interactions are still expected and necessary for handling complex queries or any escalations from bots that require a human intervention.

With the technologies we now have available, the ways that insurance services and interactions can be personalized are limited only by the imagination of insurers.

In my next post, I’ll examine different approaches to personalization.

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