Insurers can improve client experiences by leveraging Conversational AI, while also keeping human agents in-the-loop with Intelligent Automation.
Regardless of whether a client is adding a beneficiary to their life insurance or processing a property claim for fire damage to their home or vehicle, addressing insurance needs is an extremely personal endeavor.
Although insurers deal with highly personal customer requests, according to EY, customers typically do not engage with their insurers as they do with other companies — such as banks, retailers and telecommunication companies. In some cases, this is likely the result of outdated, complex insurance processes and long call center queues, leading to customer dissatisfaction and attrition. In other scenarios, it may be a lack of understanding of available insurance products. For example, even with the high mortality of COVID-19 during the pandemic, Deloitte indicates that Americans were no more likely to want life insurance, citing minimal client communication from providers and confusing transactions as main deterrents.
Addressing Changing Customer Expectations
Like many industries, insurance executives are looking to invest in digital solutions as customers’ expectations have irrevocably changed due to the pandemic. However, while the World Insurance Report 2021 found that 87% of insurers reported they were preparing for digital investments, only 32% believed digital channels would be effective in securing sales, due to the widespread perception that digital solutions cannot provide personalized advice.
This is true of digital solutions like basic FAQ chatbots and outdated IVR systems, which offer clients confusing menus, interminable wait times, scripted answers and pre-determined (and most likely unhelpful) responses. Chatbots cannot provide human-like levels of customer service simply by the way they’re built, and most need to escalate to human agents when customers ask more complex questions. If insurers want to streamline their processes and improve client communication, a simple chatbot is not the solution.
What’s more, settling for business-as-usual, including manual processes and long call center hold times, is also unsustainable. Automation needs to be a part of the insurance industry fabric to keep up with customer and employee expectations. Fortunately, with an AI-powered workforce, insurers can maintain their human touch while delivering frictionless service.
Insurance companies handle highly personal client requests, so it’s understandable that clients want customer service that feels connected and in-touch with their individual needs. Insurers can deploy Conversational AI agents like Amelia as the first point of contact for clients, because unlike chatbots, these agents can understand clients’ emotions and intents, and integrate with insurers’ back-end-systems, enabling them to conduct highly personalized and human-like conversations.
For many client requests, such as checking up on claims payment statuses or making benefits coverage changes, digital agents are the ideal customer-facing insurance agent, as they provide friendly, real-time support at scale. Even with the proficiency of digital agents, insurance clients may want to speak directly to a human, or at least have the option to easily escalate to a human agent. EY’s report on this year’s global insurance outlook indicates that more companies are adopting the “‘human-in-the-loop' process design” to ensure those who want to speak directly to a human insurance agent can do so without needing to repeat themselves or begin a new interaction.
Digital and Human Insurance Agents: Stronger Together
To truly adopt a seamless design for keeping humans-in-the-loop, insurers need to equip their human agents with AI-enabled IT support and AI-powered whisper agents, so they can have immediate access to all necessary systems — whether they need to intervene directly with customers, or when digital agents escalate a customer request to those human agents. Insurance agents cannot afford to wait hours to unlock their employee portals, reset their passwords, and troubleshoot VPN or IP phone issues when customers are waiting on the line.
Intelligent Automation solutions, like Amelia AIOps, support insurance agents by providing instant IT Service Desk support. Amelia AIOps is already equipped to handle several IT service desk roles and skills and can be trained in additional tasks. By automating high-volume internal IT service desk requests, insurance agents can avoid long ticketing queues and be available to address incoming requests, either directly from a client or escalated through Amelia.
Keeping human agents in-the-loop is most helpful when they’re also in-the-know about new products and services available to clients, or new company policies and regulatory procedures. However, it’s challenging for agents to stay up to date given the “evolving patchwork of state and federal regulations.”
When insurers deploy Amelia as a whisper agent, they empower their insurance agents with instant, real-time support from an AI solution that integrates with all relevant company systems, policies and procedures. For example, if a client was recently in a car accident and wants to understand the next steps, Amelia will provide human colleagues with suggested responses based on past experiences and real-time information drawn from the insurer’s back-end systems. As a result, human agents can focus on providing excellent service and the client will feel supported throughout their insurance journey.
It’s a common misconception to believe that AI will take away jobs and make our day-to-day lives less human. The reality is that with the right tools and planning, AI and automation can enable industries, including insurance, to bring the human touch back into their client relationships.