News eDaily23 Jun 2017

India:Insurers getting smart with chatbots and email bots

23 Jun 2017

Several insurers are adopting technology to better manage operations, and in the past few months have rolled out chatbots and email bots, which are powered by artificial intelligence.

Among them, Bajaj Allianz General Insurance launched its chatbot called ‘Boing’ this month to address customer queries on motor and health insurance. At least four other insurers—ICICI Lombard General Insurance, Birla Sun Life Insurance, PNB MetLife India Insurance and HDFC Standard Life Insurance—are using bots for either customer support or sales, reported Livemint.

Mr Ajay Vij, Senior Vice President and industry head-financial services at Infosys, said: “Today, chatbots or virtual assistants, are the most visible form of AI applications in the financial services space. Thanks to the evolution of natural language processing (NLP), chatbots are capable of answering queries, responding to voice commands and making recommendations.”

Boing, Bajaj Allianz General’s chatbot, is already responding to customer queries on health and motor insurance. The platform also allows customers to register claims, get e-copies of policies, check policy status and claim status, and locate a branch, hospital or workshop.

Some insurers are using artificial intelligence tools for automated replies to customer-care emails.

Ms Uzma Rushdi , Vice President-Hub operations at HDFC Life, said that soon HDFC Life’s email bot, Spok, would be able to email policy documents to customers. The insurer launched the email bot in May.

Mr K V Dipu, President-head of operations at Bajaj Allianz General, said: “As insurance penetration picks up, this is the most customer-friendly way of servicing customers because customers get service without any wait time when they login to chat. Even if the query is complex, there is seamless transfer to a human agent and the customer is agnostic to that.” Further expansion will use chatbots for sales, he said.

ICICI Lombard is using its chatbot for sale of policies. “In the six months since our chatbot platform MyRA was launched in December 2016, we have received an encouraging response. Over 60,000 customers have utilised the chatbot of which about 10% have gone on to get a quote from us. We have also issued about 850 policies through the chatbot,” said Sanjeev Mantri, Executive Director, ICICI Lombard.

Mr Shridhar Marri, CEO and co-founder of Senseforth Technologies, an artificial intelligence company, said that the current state of technology can automate several repetitive but human intensive touch points to bring about operational efficiencies with accuracies of over 80%.

However, this is still an emerging technology, he said. “Expecting it to fully match human-like qualities in interaction right away is like expecting a one-year-old to run or even speak fluently. Right now, the technology is evolving at a fast rate and soon bots (will) get better with machine learning and deep-learning algorithms that can infuse human-like learning capabilities,” he said.



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