AI is transforming the customer service experience across all industries. Insurance companies are no exception. However, according to CustomerThink, the insurance industry is not a forerunner in this transformation. It lags behind other industries that have taken digital transformation by the horns. As of 2018, only 17% of insurers believed they effectively integrated AI and digital into their business strategy, according to EY’s 2020 Global Insurance Outlook.
Unlike other industries, the insurance industry must overcome a multitude of regulatory red tape and potential disclosure of sensitive personal and financial data in order to adopt emerging technologies. However, customer expectations have changed over the past few years, and this change has accelerated throughout the pandemic. Insurers must understand changing customer needs and expectations, especially as customers begin to no longer tolerate lengthy insurance applications or a convoluted claims process. Integrating digital offerings, especially as it relates to AI and automation, into the customer service model for insurance companies is critical to their success. Let’s look at some ways that AI can transform customer experience for insurance companies.
AI can transform how the insurance industry sells products to current and potential customers. Customers now expect personalized, intuitive experiences when and where they want it — whether on a laptop or smartphone. Many insurers are starting to utilize natural language processing (NLP) and speech recognition, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), to answer questions, address common inquiries, and sell the right product to the right customer.
For example, imagine being able to seamlessly interact with new and existing policy holders to improve conversion of new policy sales – if a policy holder starts the insurance process, but doesn’t finish, give them a call or send them a text to schedule a call-back with voice AI. You can also know when to offer complimentary insurance coverage to existing policy holders to increase up-sell by automatically scheduling outbound calls for follow-up. Integrating proactive voice AI into insurance companies call center strategy lets them seamlessly scale proactive customer service to increase conversion and ultimately revenue.
However, it’s important to keep in mind that human agents will always play a critical role in the sales process even when a significant portion of sales interactions occur with AI-powered interactions, as they’re vital for high-level or sensitive customer needs. These are the types of interactions for which AI interactions are less ideal. According to EY, “The key is making human touch conveniently available when and how consumers want it and for the right products, even as most interactions happen through digital channels.” Voice AI can help scale and secure sales, while also providing information almost instantaneously to the human agent with automatically generated call summaries. Agents can then service customers in the sales cycle faster and more productively; making for the perfect combination of AI and human collaboration.
Increasing the Efficiency of the Claims Process
AI is also helping reshape the claims process for new and existing policy holders. For example, voice AI can help handle high call volumes when policy holders are calling in to understand their coverage or need to update their policy, reducing the load on human agents.
For example, imagine leveraging voice AI to help customers schedule repairs and appointments with service providers, allowing agents to focus on higher priority calls. Customers could call 24/7, get recommendations on the best service providers, and make an appointment all within a single call for convenient customer service.
Or imagine, helping policy holders resolve tier-1 service requests with easy-to-use, customer service that’s just like speaking to a human agent. Customers can file new claims, check claim status, set-up new policies, add additional entities to existing policies, update account information, or troubleshoot common requests quickly and seamlessly without the help of an agent. Voice AI-driven self-service capabilities reduce hold times, average handle time, and increase customer satisfaction, improving the overall customer service experience for insurance companies.
Looking ahead, McKinsey predicts claims processing will remain a primary function of all insurers in 2030. However, AI technology will reduce the overhead associated with claims by 70 to 90 percent, compared to 2018 levels. Automated customer service apps will handle most customer interactions through voice or text. Human agents will primarily focus on complex claims situations, with human interaction bolstered by analytics and data-driven insights. With most claims largely automated in 2030, claims processing times will be dramatically reduced from days to minutes.
A third area where voice AI would make an impact is policy management. Calls where customers are looking for information on their policy, requesting a copy of their policy, or updating policy information are perfect use-cases for voice AI.
An insurance company used Replicant Voice to take on common user requests, like getting help with documents, while not sacrificing the customer’s experience. A senior operations specialist said, “In choosing Replicant, we were looking for an automated solution that not only completes tasks end-to-end, but performs them so seamlessly that our customers leave feeling as delighted as if they’d spoken to one of our live agents.”
Issues like this are repetitive, straightforward to solve, and make up a high volume of calls for insurers. By automating them, agents are freed up to apply their skills and knowledge to more complicated issues.
There’s a lot of information that consumers need to provide in order to get a quote from insurers. Instead of having an insurance agent collect this information over the phone and manually enter it, voice AI can gather the information, instantly plug it into the pricing tool, and generate a quote. This results in a much faster experience for consumers.
After receiving a quote, consumers might have questions about it or want to adjust their coverage in order to see how their quote would change. Voice AI can also help consumers with these requests, including walking them through what the quote covers and answering commonly asked questions. With additional requests and questions, these calls can take up a lot of an agent’s time. By using voice AI to address these types of calls, insurers can save agents time and only have agents jump in when a customer’s question is too complex for the AI to resolve.
AI is driving changes in the customer experience for insurance industries. By leveraging the efficiencies of AI, insurers are able to better predict customers’ needs and wants, while solving issues faster.
See how insurance companies are using Replicant Voice AI to automatically resolve common claims requests and proactively convert new policy holders.