Why Leveraging AI Now Will Improve Customer Experience in the Future

Insurance customers don’t have lofty expectations. They simply want a fairly priced policy that fits their lifestyle, prompt and efficient solutions, and authentic interactions.

And the majority don’t care whether these expectations are met via human or digital interactions, so long as they’re met quickly and easily.

According to Accenture’s 2019 Global FS Consumer Study, integrated solutions are by far the most attractive to the majority of today’s insurance consumers. Out of the 47,000 customers surveyed, 59 percent said they would prefer their insurance provider blend physical branches and digital services, so they can interact with them in the way that best suits them.

To deliver on these integrated solutions, carriers have begun actively seeking out technology to enhance their customers’ experiences. Not all technological solutions are a fit, but artificial intelligence has become more widely adopted among carriers within the past few years.

Why AI?

Much like insurance customers, carriers have similar priorities––they value fast, cost-effective solutions and workflows that securely deliver on customers’ expectations. With their machine-learning capabilities, true AI systems are able to simultaneously manage thousands of multi-turn conversations while executing on judgment-intensive tasks that satisfy both customer and carrier needs.

What’s more, AI offers an extensive variety of use cases that make the insurance-buying process easier and less intimidating. The technology can also understand the complexities of human speech, enabling it to carry out human-like conversations with customers and answer their questions in real time—a capability that has proven incredibly useful in more recent times as customer support teams struggle to work through the deluge of COVID-19 requests.

Here are a few examples of how AI can support customer success, enhance the customer experience, and build long-term customer loyalty now and in our rapidly evolving future.

Claim Management

The process of filing has long been a very paperwork-heavy, human-dependent process that is often considered difficult and time-consuming for both agents and customers.

To mitigate this, savvy insurers have been using AI-driven solutions to manage claims more efficiently and with fewer errors by:

  • Providing real-time answers to questions upon first notice of loss.
  • Pre-assessing claims and offering automated damage evaluation.
  • Automating claims fraud detection.
  • Predicting claim volume patterns.
  • Augmenting loss analysis.
  • Calculating claims payouts.
  • Increasing productivity and increasing quality of service.

According to LexisNexis’ 2019 Future of Claims Study, auto insurance carriers that are already using claims automation are reporting a reduction in touches, faster cycle times, increased employee productivity, lower loss adjustment expenses and higher customer satisfaction overall.

Risk Assessment and Underwriting

The insurance industry has also leaned on data to calculate risk. Today, however, AI-powered tools allow insurers to pool massive volumes of highly varied data to gain a more complete picture of each individual’s risk factors, which in turn helps them make more informed policy decisions.

According to SMA’s 2018 “AI in P&C Insurance” report, P/C executives ranked data and text mining as the AI capability with the highest potential for both personal and commercial insurance lines, largely due to this technology’s ability to maximize the value of insurers’ data across the entire underwriting process.

For example, property analytics vendors like Zesty.ai and Location Inc. are helping underwriters access intelligence relating to property risk from catastrophes, like floods, wildfires, hurricanes and the like.

Once the risk has been accurately assessed and priced, AI’s automation capabilities help carriers quickly identify the best business to write, quickly deliver quotes to distributors and brokers, and speed up their policyholder response time.

Around-the-Clock Support

Through its machine- and deep-learning capabilities, true AI solutions provide another option to staffing human support, regardless of the time of day. When the unexpected happens, customers want to know they can access a solution, which is exactly what AI offers. Spanning a multitude of use cases—from acting as virtual help desk to purchasing a policy—this technology provides customers with solutions to their inquiries in real time, freeing up team members to handle more complex situations

On the customer service front specifically, conversational AI platforms are adept at handling a high volume of inquiries across multiple channels in a single moment, which has become a tremendous help to all industries during the COVID-19 pandemic. With businesses reporting a massive swell in customer calls and phone queue waits lasting hours, AI call center solutions have become crucial to eliminating the frustrations that come with waiting for the next available associate.

Consumers, too, support this shift toward AI and automation—even prior to the pandemic. According to research published by Salesforce, roughly 69 percent of consumers choose chatbots for quick communication with brands.

Fraud Detection and Security

Concern about data security is one of the largest contributors to consumers leaving their providers. And when you factor in that the total cost of insurance fraud (not including health care) is more than $40 billion per year, it’s easy to see why relying on digital solutions to carry out insurance matters can be unnerving. However, AI-powered platforms are highly effective in detecting and preventing fraud.

Machine learning algorithms are currently being used to identify abnormalities in claims data, allowing them to take action against the fraud more quickly and identify false information that customers use to get a lower premium or bigger claim payout.

Shift Technology is a great example of AI being used in data security. They’ve developed an AI-powered solution to better spot potential insurance claim fraud and provide fraud handlers with clear, actionable information as to why the claim may be fraudulent. It even provides next best steps for investigating the claim. According to Shift Technology, the AI has a 75 percent accuracy rate in identifying potentially fraudulent claims that the handler elects to move forward.

What Customers Want

AI is becoming increasingly critical to delivering the experience today’s customers want—especially within the insurance space. Accenture’s 2019 Global Financial Services Consumer Study found that 80 percent of the 47,000 banking and insurance customers polled would be willing to share data in return for personalized and convenient services. And 65 percent overall would be interested in insurance models linked to lifestyle and behavior. To develop these customized services, insurers must rely on the seamless sharing of customer data. And for that, AI is indispensable.

The proof truly is in the pudding—AI-powered solutions are critical to improving the customer experience today’s consumers expect. And there’s no time like the present to begin experiencing this for yourself.