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Insurance Article

The Evolving Role of Chatbots in Insurance

October 05 2017
Chatbots in Insurance

Chatbots are improving response times and customer satisfaction levels for insurers

Artificial intelligence is slowly coming into the mainstream and is helping companies manage their operations more effectively and in a much better manner. The insurance industry in particular has welcomed artificial intelligence with open arms and has become one of the earliest adopters of the technology.

The presence of artificial intelligence is more pronounced in this industry as they are being used at the very frontline of customer interaction – in the customer support and sales function. Known as ‘chatbots’, in which ‘chat’ is self-explanatory and ‘bot’ is short for robot, it is essentially a robot that chats with you and answers your queries.

Many insurers already have chatbots in operation doing a variety of tasks such as answering queries, selling policies and even sending customers e-copies of their policies. Chatbots make use of Natural Language Processing (NLP), so they learn and evolve over time thus increasing their scope of services.

What are Chatbots Capable of?

In the near future chatbots are expected to take on a lot more responsibilities. Currently, they are mainly employed by insurance companies in tasks which are repetitive and require an objective response, such as chats regarding customer queries. For example, ICICI Lombard’s chatbot called ‘MyRA’ was launched December 2016 and has already served over 60,000 customers, and even sold 850 policies without any human intervention.

MyRA also helps customers to either buy or renew two wheeler insurance online. Though, the bot is still not capable enough to handle complex queries like handling of insurance claims. Even in such situations, the bot seamlessly transfers the query to a human agent and assists them with suggestions pulled from product manuals, thereby helping in reducing human error.

According to experts on artificial intelligence, the present chatbot technology is capable of automating several repetitive and human intensive touch points with accuracy of over 80%. The obvious benefit to insurers is faster customer service, better customer experience and effective handling of voluminous customer queries.

Room for Improvement?

Chatbots are still learning and are far from fully developed, the scope for improvement is enormous. Machine learning is still in its nascent stage, and chatbots need a human who can make judgement calls on the machine’s output. What hampers the effectiveness of chatbots is the fact that many of them are not fully automated and depend on humans for resolution of complex and detailed queries.

However, with the rapid pace of progress in the development of natural language processing and advances in machine learning and deep-learning algorithms, chatbots may soon have learning capabilities similar to human beings. Machine learning coupled with big data is also an aspect that is being researched. If successfully accomplished, the scope of a chatbot’s potential will improve exponentially.

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