We experience it every day – robots have infiltrated everything from our medical treatments (health bots) to online banking (Bank of America’s “Erica”) to foodservice (Tacobot anyone?). Sometimes we know robots are involved, but sometimes we don’t. What we know for sure is Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the future and even the insurance industry is trying to keep up.
Take for example the large national insurance company that just announced its launch of an AI-powered customer service “chat bot”. With this feature, policyholders and agents can perform basic functions such as address changes and beneficiary changes at any time of day, which serves to streamline customer service. And if they still require human assistance, it’s available on request.
The example above demonstrates one of many ways “bots” are being used to improve customer experience across industries. In the claim management field we could take it a step further by using AI technology to streamline the workflow and lighten the load of already overworked analysts.
Fielding incoming telephone inquiries regarding basic policy data, claim information or standard form requests are all areas where AI could excel.
Facilitating standard communications or gathering basic information to initiate a new claim application are additional ways we could benefit from AI. In these cases bots could be viewed as partners in expediting the claim process.
While automating basic and repetitive tasks makes sense, there are plenty of situations that will still require human interaction and oversight.
For example, if a chat bot is servicing a claimant, the technology may struggle to identify nuances in language, tone, volume and dialect. The reality is that customers calling us about a claim are typically ill or have a loved one who is sick or has perhaps recently passed away. Human nature is such that we seek reassurance in these situations. This is when there’s no replacement for genuine empathy, a kind word or an offer to assist someone in need.
Keeping humans involved when compassion is needed will be key.
AI technology also has a long way to go in understanding the intricacies of our business. While ‘machine learning’ will speed this along, humans can play a role to train and oversee the more sophisticated tasks in the claim process. It will be critical to ensure staff are up to date on the necessary skills to step into these advisor roles.
At SALT Associates, we’re excited to see how insurers will put AI to work for improved claim management. We also believe claim professionals will be essential partners to their bot counterparts.
Contact us if you’d like to discuss ways we can help.