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December 22, 2017

Insurtech: Breaking Down the Walls

Summary:

AI enables personalized customer service from the initial interaction to processing a claim — often without any human interference.

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The marriage of “insurance” and “technology” — “insurtech” — continues to attract investment among P&C insurers, and startups specializing in insurance technology products are popping up all over. In fact, investment in insurtech reached $853 million in the first quarter of 2017 — a 50% increase over the same period in 2016.

While, to date, most insurtech products have focused on the distribution and sale of insurance, there is great opportunity for new insurtech innovations to offer superior customer service, which translates to loyal customers — the brass ring in a highly commoditized market.

Insurtech enables fast and personalized experience, any time and anywhere

Customers want to know that they will be looked after if any issues arise — even after a policy purchase. This means succeeding at a full range of customer interactions and touchpoints, from addressing customer questions about their bills, to working with a customer during the claims process. Customers expect these interactions to be personalized, fast, efficient and on their own terms. At the same time, insurers are looking to automate some processes, thereby increasing time savings and freeing employees to focus on more complex activities. Altogether, this is why technologies like artificial intelligence and chatbots have found a following in insurance.

See also: Insurtech: An Adventure or a Quest?  

Artificial intelligence, for example, enables personalized customer service from the initial interaction to processing a claim — often without any human interference at all. Artificial intelligence can analyze a customer’s profile and recommend insurance products best-suited for the customer. And, by removing human intervention, the potential for error decreases.

Chatbots, too, are gaining favor for their ability to do things like schedule an appointment or process a payment, any time and anywhere. Whatever a chatbot can’t help with can be elevated to a human, but just eliminating these types of simple tasks from employees’ to-do lists can be a boon to their productivity.

Industry is evolving

To be sure, traditional insurers are embracing insurtech to augment and improve their customer service. Insurtech distributors, too, are realizing the need to evolve and offer more than just great purchase experiences. In personal lines insurance, for example, distributors understand they must provide more than a great buying experience, so they are becoming insurers as a way to better control the customer experience. Metromile, for example, which became an insurer in 2016, recently launched a new automated claims service, which enables a more seamless claims experience. Now, Metromile more easily assesses whether a claim can be quickly processed and paid.

Improving customer service can be daunting, especially for traditional insurers that sell multiple products in various customer segments through a variety of channels. In a highly commoditized market, however, the customer experience is the all-important differentiator. By investing in insurtech innovations, insurers will find they have a leg up on the competition and will reap the rewards of satisfied, loyal customers.

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About the Author

Andy Scurto is Guidewire’s head of products, InsuranceNow, and manages strategic direction. He founded ISCS (acquired by Guidewire), where his deep understanding of both insurance and IT led to the development of products with uniquely rich flexibility and capabilities.

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