Artificial intelligence (AI) is very important concept in the industry of customer experience. It refers to the ability of the machine to imitate intelligent human behavior. AI technologies are algorithms that try to imitate things people do.
Machine learning is science that gives computers possibility to learn without explicit programming – those are algorithms that learn from data. AI and machine learning are often mentioned together, but it is important that not all AI technologies use machine learning, and machine learning is used for other things different than AI.
Examples of AI technologies that are mostly used are voice recognition by recording audio and analyzing spoken words. Than, a dialogue! AI provides applications with ability to maintain natural conversation with user by taking into account meanings of spoken words and thinking what he may say or do next. In that way, so-called digital assistants are created.
Siri, Cortana and Google Now are digital assistants that make usage of mobile, tablet or other gadget easier for user. However, one of the most famous is Amazon Echo, popularly called Alexa.
Is Alexa used in insurance and how?
More than 20 years ago, the percentage of voice recognition error was around 43%. Today, according to Microsoft researchers it is only 6.3%. In that sense, certain number of insurance companies has recognized the chance and introduced Alexa through its application to the interesting world of insurance.
Aviva in Great Britain developed an application that helps users to better understand complicated insurance vocabulary. Alexa helps users to understand over 300 insurance terms and definitions. It is enough for user to ask what is premium or re-insurance and application automatically gives simple explanation that everyone is familiar with. This company intends to implement this functionality on insurance policies in a way that contractor can manage his policy with help of Alexa.
One of the best examples is German insurance company Deutsche Familienversicherung from Frankfurt. This insurance company, founded as a startup 12 years ago, is specialized in health and property insurance. Amazon Echo-Alexa, used as service of this company, enables users to discuss insurance and get information about services and tariffs. From October 2018. it is also possible to contract policy online. Digitalization starts from product, or service. Insurance service should be understandable and simple. In that sense, it was necessary to modify existing portfolio of insurance services and make it more simple for communicating. All health services were put in “Matrix of 16 health services” and all property services were put in “Matrix of 16 property insurance services”.
After contracting the policy, client pays via Amazon Pay or Pay Pal. Every decision made in this company is based on customer experience and detailed research. Every fifth German younger than 35 can imagine contracting the policy and getting information with the help of digital assistant. Also the number of people in Germany that use digital assistants have doubled in the past three years. The company is aware that this service won’t be used by many in the beginning.
However, when mobile phones were invented, Nokia was one of the first. It was only possible to make a call if your interlocutor also had a mobile phone and later sending of SMS was considered as innovation of that time. And how about today?
Development of technology as development of insurance
Same analogy can be applied on new technologies that we discussed above, mainly digital assistants and contracting policy online.
Voice application that rely on artificial intelligence and machine learning can provide clients with the best and relevant offer based on real time data about client. This can be understood as a threat to the insurance industry, but to Google also, which only represents evidence that modernization is permanent category.
On the other hand, this can be perceived more as a challenge: if Amazon enters the insurance industry it will be great indicator of industry’s potential. So many interesting paths in front of the insurers. So many good ideas and innovations. It should start simply and continue simply towards new path of services for our clients.
Author: Marija Đinđić, Head of Marketing, Product and Partnership Development Unit, OTP Osiguranje