A Match Made in Heaven—Chatbots and Insurance Services

A Match Made in Heaven—Chatbots and Insurance Services
  1. A Match Made in Heaven—Chatbots and Insurance Services
    The use of chatbots within the insurance industry goes back over ten years: chatbot Hanna began “working” for the Swedish Social Insurance Agency in 2003 by providing customer service, directing website visitors and giving them information on social insurance. Allianz Australia has their own agent named Allie, and Canadian firm RBC Insurance has Arbie, aContinue reading …

The use of chatbots within the insurance industry goes back over ten years: chatbot Hanna began “working” for the Swedish Social Insurance Agency in 2003 by providing customer service, directing website visitors and giving them information on social insurance. Allianz Australia has their own agent named Allie, and Canadian firm RBC Insurance has Arbie, a blue-suited, hat-wearing character with simple chat capabilities that rely on frequently asked questions. Similarly, Nienke helps customers navigate through Dutch insurance firm Nationale-Nederlanden’s (NN)’s website.

These chatbots, however, are fairly basic in terms of functionality. They represent the first generation of what ex-Uber and ex-Google engineer Chris Messina calls “conversational commerce”. With advances in artificial intelligence and natural language processing, chatbots have come a long way since these the first commercial chatbots arrived on the scene. US auto insurance company Geico, which has a customer base of over 14 million, has a new intelligent agent named Kate who is available within their iOS app (and soon Android); customers can type or speak to initiate a conversation with her.

“Interactive voice assistant technology has altered the way customers interact with their mobile devices. Kate is very intuitive and has been programmed to connect with policyholders at a deeper level,” says Pete Meoli, GEICO mobile and digital experience director.

This more complex and yet more accessible version of a chatbot, which is voice-activated and lives within a mobile-app, may soon become the industry standard. In a Medium post in which he declared 2016 to be the year of conversational commerce, Messina said that over time “computer-driven bots will become more human-feeling, to the point where the user can’t detect the difference, and will interact with either human agent or computer bot in roughly the same interaction paradigm”.

Chat Bots for Business: The Up-To-Date Guide to Building Chat Bots

Mobile and voice will push chatbots into mainstream

The language of conversation rather than traditional computing interfaces, says Chris Messina, is more comprehensible to a wider audience, “which will in turn accelerate the adoption of conversational agents faster than we saw with desktop apps”.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has also spoken about how the future of chatbots is tied to the future of fintech, specifically the insurance industry.

Ex-Apple CEO John Sculley has thrown his hat into the commercial chatbot ring, stating at the 2016 Money 20/20 conference that finance companies should “plan for radical change or prepare for obsolescence”, which applies to those in insurance tech, or insurtech, as much as the rest of the fintech sector, especially since funding for insurtech companies rose from US$740 million to US$2.7 billion from 2014 to 2105, according to CB Insights.

Ready to build a conversational bot for your business, but confused with the variety of platforms? Let’s talk!

Embracing Facebook Messenger: Insurance Chatbots Should Follow the Customer

Consumer adoption of insurance chatbots is key to their success and this will happen organically as insurance companies move their chatbots to where conversations are already being had. Messaging platforms like WhatsApp and Messenger (both owned by Facebook) are going to be major facilitators for these kinds of commercial opportunities as they open up to third party chatbots. Already Messenger (in the US) has Uber integration so that users can hail a taxi inside a conversation they’re having with a friend about meeting up for food. This kind of scenario transfers easily to the insurance industry where friends are planning a trip abroad and can pull in a quote for travel insurance alongside creating their list of must-see tourist spots.

One major factor that will push conversational commerce forward for Facebook Messenger commercial partners is the ability to carry out financial transactions. Friend-to-friend payment functionality within Messenger has been around in the US for some time – it was introduced in March 2015 – but has yet to arrive in Europe. However, Facebook secured an e-money license from the Central Bank of Ireland in October 2016, which opens the door to the fintech industry to start a (chatbot) conversation with their customers where they are most at home.

Additionally, Head of Facebook Messenger David Marcus announced last year that the company is working with big league payments players including including Stripe, PayPal, MasterCard, Visa, American Express and Braintree.

A policy change in relation to chatbots has also opened up this platform for more flexibility in relation to financial transactions: Facebook Product Manager Seth Rosenberg announced in August 2016 that the restriction on promotional content was removed, thus allowing businesses to use Messenger chatbots to send ads, special offers and other promotional messages directly to customers.

Subscription messaging was introduced, which has given businesses another way to get regular updates directly to the customer and effectively replace email in a way that ads or posts across social media currently fails to. This kind of messaging is limited to three categories including personal trackers or bots that enable people to receive and monitor information about themselves in categories that, significantly, include finance.

These kinds of chatbots are desirable for customers because it places them in control: the end-user must initiate the conversation with a business chatbot and they can mute or block the bot at any time.

What’s in it for the average insurance company? A potential customer base from over one billion monthly active Messenger users and the ability to engage in media rich ways that appeal to millennials i.e. using GIFs, buttons, stickers, menus and so on. Dashbot reports that 44% of Facebook bots receive (mostly emoticon-based) stickers from users while 14.5 percent of these chatbots receive animated images.

Additionally, WhatsApp announced in late 2016 that it would begin testing tools to allow users to communicate with relevant businesses and organisations: “That could mean communicating with your bank about whether a recent transaction was fraudulent, or with an airline about a delayed flight. We all get these messages elsewhere today — through text messages and phone calls — so we want to test new tools to make this easier to do on WhatsApp.”

A burgeoning ecosystem of insurance chatbot startups

There are also dedicated firms working exclusively in this space i.e. working on chatbots tailored exclusively to the insurance industry. And they are not only beneficial to the customer-facing side of the industry: UK tech firm Nuance has developed a chatbot for insurance brokers. Working with financial services company LV=, Nuance has created aLVin, a virtual assistant that talks to brokers, giving them the information they need at any time of the day, seven days a week.

London-based SPIXII creates…

Chatbots and insurance services
  1. Big Data Firm PHEMI Appoints Rick Makos as New CEO

    Policychargingcontrol.com - Technology
    Vancouver-based PHEMI announced the appointment Rick Makos as a new CEO, positioning the company for continued growth and market expansion. The Company which has raised $10 …
  2. European Commission suppresses results of piracy study

    Myce.com - Technology
    09.22 / 03:18 myce.com
    In January of 2014, the European Commission paid a Dutch research company named Ecorys  €360,000 to determine whether or not copyright infringement negatively affects legitimate sales of media.  But once the study was finished, the commission failed to publish the results, probably because only a small part of the study supported their preconceived ideas about piracy. […] The post European Commission suppresses results of piracy study appeared first on Myce…
  3. Equifax under pressure from banks to shape up

    Capitalbay.com - Technology
    09.22 / 03:11 capitalbay.com
    NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. consumer credit reporting bureau Equifax Inc (EFX.N) risks losing support from banks unless it can show its database on…
  4. Hack of Wall Street regulator rattles investors, lawmakers

    Capitalbay.com - Technology
    09.22 / 03:11 capitalbay.com
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Wall Street’s top regulator came under fire on Thursday over its cyber security and disclosure practices after admitting hackers had breached i…
  5. U.S. consumer finance agency expected to punish Equifax: lawyers

    Capitalbay.com - Technology
    09.22 / 03:11 capitalbay.com
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. consumer finance watchdog agency is expected to punish Equifax (EFX.N) for its cyber breach with the wide-ranging powers it…
  6. Facebook to overhaul political ads, share some with U.S. Congress

    Capitalbay.com - Technology
    09.22 / 03:11 capitalbay.com
    SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Facebook Inc (FB.O) on Thursday launched an overhaul of how it handles paid political advertisements on the world’s largest social n…
  7. Singapore's ST Electronics Partners Cisco, IBM, Siemplify and Invests in Cybersecurity Firm Janus

    Thefastmode.com - Technology
    09.22 / 02:54 thefastmode.com
    Singapore-based ST Electronics has recently signed three partnerships with global technology providers - Cisco, IBM and Siemplify - to enhance its suite of product offering. The …
  8. Mozilla Adds Tracking Protection to Firefox for iOS, Firefox Focus Gets Multitasking

    Lxer.com - Technology
    09.22 / 02:53 lxer.com
    Mozilla released on Thursday new updates for its Firefox for iOS and Firefox Focus for Android apps adding new features like tracking protection and multi-tasking, along with various other…
  9. Zuckerberg Announces Facebook's Plans To Combat Election Interference

    Newsy.com - Technology
    09.22 / 02:53 newsy.com
    Watch Video"I don't want anyone to use our tools to undermine democracy. That's not what we stand for," Mark Zuckerberg announced Thursday. After Facebook revealed Russia-linked political ads were spread improperly on its site, Zuckerberg laid out the company's nine-step plan to combat election interference — not just in the U.S., but around the world. The first two steps involved the ongoing investigations by both Facebook and the U.S. government into what happened d…
  10. Securities And Exchange Commission Finally Discloses 1-Year-Old Hack

    Newsy.com - Technology
    09.22 / 02:53 newsy.com
    Watch VideoThe U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission says it found out last year that it got hacked — and we're only just now hearing about it.The hack targeted the SEC's Edgar system, which stores and distributes more that 1.7 million corporate filings to the agency each year. In 2016, the agency found intruders entered the system using a vulnerability in its testing software.The SEC says the hackers didn't make off with any personal information. But they did get access to information b…
  11. The Longest Tech Support Call: Apollo 14 Computer Hack

    Hackaday.com - Technology
    09.22 / 02:47 hackaday.com
    Deep-voiced and aptly named [Scott Manley] posted a video about the computer hack that saved Apollo 14. Unlike some articles about the incident, [Scott] gets into the technical details in an entertaining way. If you don’t remember, Apollo 14 had an issue where the abort command button would occasionally signal when it shouldn’t. The common story is that a NASA engineer found a way to reprogram the Apollo guidance computer. However, [Scott] points out that the rope memory in the…
  12. Apple shares new Apple Pay, Apple Pay Cash tutorial videos

    Appleinsider.com - Technology
    09.22 / 02:44 appleinsider.com
    In preparation of the iPhone 8 release tomorrow (or today in some countries), Apple on Thursday posted a trio of videos to its YouTube channel and website documenting the process of adding a card to Apple Pay and using it with Touch…
  13. First iPhone 8 teardown reveals few internal design changes

    Appleinsider.com - Technology
    09.22 / 02:44 appleinsider.com
    Just hours after iPhone 8 hit store shelves in early launch countries, iFixit tore down Apple's newest smartphones to reveal all the goodies packed within, finding an internal layout largely identical to iPhone…
  14. iPhone 8 unboxing & fast setup with iOS 11's new Quick Start

    Appleinsider.com - Technology
    09.22 / 02:44 appleinsider.com
    In iOS 11, Apple has made it even easier to set up a new iPhone with your existing phone with Quick Start, a new system that discovers your new device (similar to the setup of Apple Watch or AirPods) and transfers most of your settings and preferences automatically. Here's how it…
  15. iPhone 8, 8 Plus draw Apple fans at launch despite X holdouts - CNET

    CNET - News
    09.22 / 02:35 cnet.com
    A decade on, fans still queue up for Apple's latest phones. But lines aren't as long as they've been in the past because many are waiting for iPhone…
  16. iPhone X may be in short supply for holiday season

    09.22 / 02:33 nypost.com
    Even Santa Claus might have trouble getting his hands on the iPhone X this Christmas. The production delays facing Apple’s hotly anticipated handset may be worse than previous believed, according to an investor note from a chip analyst who recently toured Asian production facilities used by the tech titan. Production of the $1,000 iPhone X…
  17. Japan’s emoji creator shrugs as U.S. firms turn his idea into a global hit

    O.seattletimes.com - Technology
    09.22 / 02:24 o.seattletimes.com
    Emoji were created in 1998 by a 25-year-old employee of Japanese mobile-phone carrier NTT Docomo, who designed them for an internet messaging service. But it was Western players Apple and Google that made emoji a global…
  18. Fingerprint, Voice Recognition More Appealing than Facial Recognition for Contactless Payments

    Policychargingcontrol.com - Technology
    Contactless payment users considered fingerprint sensors and voice recognition more appealing authentication methods, with 74% and 62% respectively saying they are likely to use these technologies,…
  19. ALU Enterprise Expands Mobile Campus Portfolio with New APs, Edge Switches and Network Mgt

    Policychargingcontrol.com - Technology
    Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise has introduced new products enhancing its solutions for the mobile campus with new access points, edge switches and network management capabilities. The showcase of…
  20. Live from SHARE 2017: Collaborative Mainframing

    Blog.rocketsoftware.com - Technology
    09.22 / 02:22 blog.rocketsoftware.com
    I was delayed by 24 hours getting to this week’s SHARE conference in Providence, Rhode Island – more than 10,000 miles from my home in Australia. I was onboard my first flight from Sydney to Los Angeles when the captain announced that there was a problem with the “onboard mainframe” and they were going to […] The post Live from SHARE 2017: Collaborative Mainframing appeared first on The Rocket Software Blog…