“No policyholder sees interactions with their carrier as the high point of their day.” — a joke by a 35-year Property & Casualty executive but also a common presumption by industry veterans. True or not, it exposes a troublesome weakness in the industry–insurance customer experience that is lackluster at best. What does this customer interaction look like?

  • Insurance purchasers venture out online to try to make sense of the heaps of information out there, or they just give up and buy from a name they recognize from ads.
  • Policyholders dread having to go through the claims process, losing faith in their insurance company; so many forms, long delays and playing phone tag to get an update call from the adjuster–the whole process is antiquated.
  • Consumers adopt types of new technology but most carriers can’t keep up much less coordinate information and communications among these new options.
  • Insurers connect with policyholders through multiple channels but none of this valuable data is captured or analyzed to tailor that customer’s experience nor it is used to gain insights into similar customers to improve products and services.

This doesn’t have to be the norm. A great customer experience is a missed opportunity to connect and build rapport with prospective and current customers. A positive, memorable experience with an insurer can make the difference between which companies realize business growth and those that fall into decline.

Many major insurers are betting big on chatbots, virtual insurance agents, to help differentiate their customer service experience. Allstate, Geico, Allianz–heavyweights who all launched or are launching these virtual insurance agents.

Why chatbots?

When consumers want to buy insurance, pay their bill or file a claim, they expect excellent customer service. It’s got to be as friction free as possible. They avoid calling and find emails dull, preferring to take care of tasks via text or messaging apps like Facebook Messenger. Virtual insurance agents are always ready, able to converse, find and deliver information and help customers complete purchase and payment transactions, available 24/7 (holidays too).

Chatbot highlights

Human-like interaction – Virtual insurance agents are lively. Not a search program, online FAQ or payment form chatbots are intuitive to use. Just like you would text a friend, customers can tell the chatbot, “The DMV wants my insurance info.” and within seconds the chatbot texts back the proof of insurance card. Insurance is a field full of jargon, but a virtual agent backed with artificial intelligence understands what insureds really mean, even when the customer’s not sure what something is called.

Improved customer engagement – Competition is fierce and customer churn is expensive. Chatbots become part of a carrier’s arsenal to offer superior customer service and differentiate their brand from competitors. Reducing payment hassles and claims nightmares paired with the personalized context that chatbots offer to policyholders, serve to increase customer engagement and loyalty.

Effective and efficient – Chatbots can live most anywhere, on a website, within the wildly popular messaging apps like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and WeChat, or on devices like Amazon Alexa, carriers avoid the long app development timeframes and costly app marketing efforts just to get the app installed on their customers’ phones. Many options for creating chatbots make AI-based insurance chatbot initiatives within reach to insurers, even when IT resources are severely limited.

What can chatbots do?

Customer service – The most well-known insurance chatbots launched have focused on customer service. Chatbots are a natural choice to for this use case. Unlike live agents, your virtual customer service chatbot can serve 1 or 100 or 1000 customers, concurrently. Virtual CSR patiently answer questions correctly and precisely at any time, any day. Customer service wait times are a pernicious complaint from insureds, but chatbots can wipe those out on the first day they are launched.

Sales agent – Many insurers miss out on sales opportunities because they don’t know what and when to offer additional services. Live agents can be effective at sales but, unlike chatbots, they don’t have insights from machine learning and cannot scale economically. Chatbots connect the conversation and account histories and demographic data with its own AI engines to become an efficient and effective cross-seller and up-seller. A virtual sales agent can offer endless options and patiently explains policy and product options. When the sale is completed, the chatbot can deliver required policy documents and disclosures, keeping a log of all actions taken.

Have a low frequency or low profit margin product? Automate the sales process end-to-end to make these winners in your product line up.

Payments agent – Collection of payments need to be as painless and quick as possible. Most insurers accept online payments or automated payments. A payments chatbot agent makes paying insurance premiums easy. Payment chatbots can be set up to remind policyholders of upcoming bills and offer to take payment to the chatbot. Customers can check when the last payment was received and which cards or bank accounts are on record. This easy payment interaction invites customers to take care of payments sooner rather than later.

Chabots and the digital transformation

Virtual insurance agents are part of the transformation of the insurance industry to use new technologies to transform the way the business functions. Artificial intelligence is beginning to permeate insurance with chatbots able to directly impact the important customer experience.

To see how Elafris Virtual Insurance Agents can help your company, speak with us to schedule a free online demo.

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