relentless pursue of customer success.
The insurance sector has a longstanding reputation for being resistant to change. Who can blame those who work in this industry? Avoiding risk is in their DNA.
Surprisingly, in my experience as a Silicon Valley insurtech serial entrepreneur, this characterization may no longer be valid. Since 2010, we have partnered with insurers to add technologies to improve their businesses. In our daily conversations with carriers and agents, we have seen a quickening in their adoption of new tools and new ways of doing business.
Agencies are taking some of the boldest steps forward when it comes to launching artificial intelligence (AI) projects. The past few years of heavy venture investment in insurtech has brought a huge array of tools to market that are solving palpable insurance business problems and providing quick and significant returns.
Early technologies tended to put distance between insurers from their policyholders. Phone auto attendants droning “Press one to talk to Sales” and voicemail that never seemed to get a return call. Artificial intelligence tools are different. They enhance and support the human connection and personal guidance that is core to the industry. Policyholders still want to feel like insurers understand them, empathize and listen. Customers continue to crave tailored recommendations and advice.
From underwriting, compliance, reporting, documenting, billing, quoting, so much time is spent on minutiae that the human connection gets shunted to the bottom of the priority list, and worse, the mundane or highly detailed tasks are simply wearing out the staff.
Allstate’s recent push to have personal lines agents also sell their commercial lines encountered significant challenges. Agents were starved for guidance on how to sell and support these products that were unfamiliar to them. Agents would call support lines causing delays and frustration and bogging call center queues. Allstate implemented an AI-enabled virtual agent called ABIe that “speaks” to agents to answer questions and guide them through sales and underwriting processes. ABIe handles 25,000 agent inquiries monthly, allowing personal lines agents comprehensive, instant support and freeing up the call center.[“source=forbes]