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How insurance industry is adopting chatbots and conversational messaging

How insurance industry is adopting chatbots and conversational messaging

How insurance industry is adopting chatbots and conversational messaging
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By Anshul  Dec 14, 2022 11:03:05 AM IST (Published)

Earlier, buying insurance was seen as a tedious process, with the word conjuring up images of people being turned away because one did not have the right documents, or being pushed from pillar to post during the claims process. With conversational AI, the sector has been able to improve service efficiency, and digitise processes.

Aditya Birla Sun Life Insurance recently partnered with Gupshup, a conversational messaging platform, to provide an end-to-end journey (onboarding to issuance) of life insurance products on WhatsApp. The chatbot enables services such as quote generation, premium payment and underwriting, among others, entirely on WhatsApp on a real-time basis. Similarly, SBI General Insurance also launched their WhatsApp chatbot which enabled customers to not just purchase insurance policies, but renew existing ones and even initiate claims right from WhatsApp itself.

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These launches show how customers are increasingly looking for ease and convenience in their policy buying experience and insurance companies are recognising the importance of meeting their customers where they are, i.e, adopting an omnichannel approach.
Earlier, buying insurance was seen as a tedious process, with the word conjuring up images of people being turned away because one did not have the right documents, or being pushed from pillar to post during the claims process. With conversational AI, the sector has been able to improve service efficiency, and digitise processes.
So, what are the current trends in the insurance sector?
Pandemic pushed people to explore digital avenues, and the sentiment is only getting stronger with 44 percent of customers still preferring to use chatbots to make insurance claims and 43 percent using chatbots to buy insurance policies, said Beerud Sheth, CEO at Gupshup while talking to CNBC-TV18.com.
"A survey indicated that 73 percent of insurance executives are in favour of adopting technologies like conversational AI to deliver an omnichannel experience and expedite the process of addressing and resolving user queries, indicating strong demand for conversational AI," Sheth said.
Juniper Study has forecasted that by 2023, the use of conversational AI chatbots in insurance will lead to cost savings of almost $1.3 billion across motor, vehicle, health and property insurance, up from $300 million in 2019.
The digital economy has made usage-based, on-demand and 'all-in-one' insurance lifestyle products more relevant. Customers are moving towards personalised insurance covers instead of the one-size-fits-all products which have been the mainstay till now.
"Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and AI are also beginning to occupy the centre stage in insurance, driven by newer data channels, better data processing capabilities and advancements in AI algorithms. While AI eliminates brokers and paperwork, its behavioural economics capabilities also minimise fraud - leading to reduced time, effort and costs," he added.
How AI in the insurance sector helps customers?
By leveraging AI, the insurance sector can build seamless experiences across multiple channels and meet customers where they are, while crafting personalised experiences at no additional cost.
According to a Mantra Labs report, 6 in 10 insurance executives agree that integrating multiple channels is how they would improve the customer experience journey.
"AI can improve every step of the insurance buying journey. Starting from the beginning, customers are often overwhelmed by the number of choices presented to them by insurance companies. However, an insurance chatbot can collect data from customers based on their needs and risk profiles and narrow down choices by only suggesting policies suitable to them. After the customer has selected a policy, instead of having to fill out long forms, customers just need to answer questions and the chatbot auto-fills the forms," Sheth explained.
"Document submission which earlier used to involve getting photocopies of required documents can now be done by simply uploading scanned copies. And after the customer has purchased a policy, they can pay monthly premiums right from WhatsApp itself," he told CNBC-TV18.com.
Chatbots are also always-on, hence they can handle customer queries as and when they arise and whenever the situation escalates, they can seamlessly transfer the case to a human agent.
"Insurance firms can transform their customer service by streamlining the end-to-end response and achieve query resolution of over 80 percent of incoming enquiries using conversational AI while slashing operating expenses dramatically. With global insurance spending on AI platforms set to reach $3.4 billion by 2024, insurance companies should take the lead in deploying AI tools to transform their business." he said.
Are these safe to use?
Conversational AI tools operate within an ecosystem and the ones on WhatsApp and Instagram are secured using end-to-end encryption. This   means, Gupshup or any third-party app cannot access the data shared by customers with the insurance company.
WhatsApp’s Quality Business Messaging guidelines also mandate that insurance companies only send relevant messages to their customers. New innovations such as blockchain are also being employed to store customers’ data and make them immune to cyberattacks.
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