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Chatbots and Agents: The Dynamic Duo

Just like Batman and Robin, strong teams are made up of complementary partners. In the insurance world, this partnership is often the human agent and a technology counterpart. Take a Geico agent and the virtual assistant Kate. Kate’s AI-enhanced offerings and “always on” abilities serve as the perfect sidekick to the local insurance agent.

As customer expectations have evolved, the insurance industry has had to change along with it. We’ve seen this with the rise of digitally native insurance companies like Hippo that streamline the application and sign-up process for homeowners insurance, as well as with more traditional organizations like Amica Insurance, which is revamping its digital strategies by working with IBM to give adjusters stronger tools to fulfill routine tasks.

See also: Hate Buying? Chatbots Can Help  

Today, anything short of a flexible, convenient and digitally mature experience is behind the times. It’s important for insurance companies to recognize that, given these advances and the diverse needs of policyholders, they will need to scale their offerings and implement more advanced services to support human agents. Though humans will never be replaced by chatbots, chatbots’ unique ability to personalize and automate processes has enormous potential in enhancing the relationship between the insurer and the policyholder.

How Can Chatbots Enhance the Insurance Experience?

Customers are becoming more and more comfortable with user interface (UI) technologies like Amazon Echo and Google Home and are exhibiting a more diverse set of expectations for digital capabilities in every facet of their lives. Chatbots can help supercharge insurance organizations with their ability to simplify everyday tasks. These virtual assistants have the potential to enhance efficiencies for both the insurer and the policyholder, especially when it comes to researching offerings, purchasing a policy and filing an insurance claim.

Policy Exploration

Researching different insurance policies can be a daunting task. It’s difficult for buyers, especially first-timers, to know what the best policy might be for their needs and budget. When looking at the insurance equation from the top of the funnel, chatbots have the potential to help win a customer’s business with their intuitive interface and educational support. Getting the right information up front is important for customers so that they aren’t surprised by anything down the line. Chatbots can process data at extraordinary speeds and help to make sure that customers are getting the right policy and the necessary information so they feel comfortable with their purchase. With the ability to quickly scan through the wealth of information on the internet and recognize user patterns, chatbots can ensure that policy offerings are accurate and tailored to the needs of the customer, helping insurance organizations make a great first impression.

Purchasing

When it comes to purchasing a policy, the process can be clunky, filled with unfamiliar industry jargon and massive amounts of paperwork. Chatbots can make the quote process much smoother for buyers by helping customers quickly navigate the intricacies of the buying process, while also simplifying it by auto-filling difficult questions with the assistance of third-party sources and natural language capabilities. Insurers are freed to work on more complex customer needs and issues without being bogged down by endless amounts of paperwork, leading to greater internal efficiencies.

Claims and Payments

The situations in which policyholders file claims don’t always happen within traditional business hours. The 24/7 nature of chatbots makes sure that customers have access to assistance when they need it, whether that means information about their policy or guiding them through what to do in the case of a car accident. The payment and claims process typically involves multiple steps, and the automated nature of chatbots can help streamline this experience in a way that helps both insurers and policyholders. A large number of calls that policyholders make to their insurance organization are about the claims process. Chatbots can field these calls and provide users with a complete look at the status of their claim in real time, just as if they were tracking a UPS package. Given that calls are typically about the status of a claim, chatbots are particularly good at fielding them because they can access this information within their database.

See also: How Chatbots Change Open Enrollment  

Looking Forward

The insurance industry still needs a drastic digital transformation as it migrates from policy-centric strategies to more customer-centric ones. In addition to updating their technology, insurers need to shift their antiquated mindsets and processes toward innovation, especially as younger generations with higher digital standards gain greater purchasing power. If these organizations want their digital transformation to be sustainable, they’ll need to integrate digital mindsets throughout the culture of their organization, making sure everyone understands the value of digital investments and will continue to implement them.

As it stands, just 42% of insurance organizations support a seamless user experience. If insurers want to satisfy users, they’re going to need to emphasize their omnichannel offerings, like chatbots, to create a solid foundation for further technology advancements. As the needs of the digitally savvy consumer become increasingly important, each insurance company will need to figure out how to stay relevant to this new generation, and having a chatbot by their side is a step in the right direction.