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Insurance spotlight: Boost productivity at the front lines with covalent AI–human agents

Insurance spotlight: Boost productivity at the front lines with covalent AI–human agents
January 29, 2021

Introduction

A leading text from the 1990s analyzing trends and challenges in the iinsurance industry mentions the need for flexibility and innovation to avoid customer attrition– a problem that is at least 30 years old. Insurance products fill a critical void of uncertainty with risk cover. Naturally, the true purpose of insurance is served when things go wrong. As a result, the frontline employees in the insurance industry– case officers, agents, and settlement and inspection officers– must carve their skills to face distressed (or, at the least, stressed) customers to solve this age-old problem.

Delivering a smooth and empathetic customer experience is of paramount importance in today’s insurance industry. And yet, 75% of customers who look for new insurance do so because they had a poor experience with their previous provider. So what’s the secret to delivering a 5-star customer experience to every potential and existing client?

Zoom in on your front lines

Imagine that your case officer logs into her email every morning to make a list of tasks. Over the course of the day, she also receives tasks over phone calls. While handling a transfer-out case, she logs into the customer relationship management (CRM) system, notes the policy and customer’s details, and goes through the service-level agreement (SLA) document to scan for potential breach of SLAs. She then types out an email notifying the policyholder of actions to be taken, if any and notifies the relevant internal teams while tracking her open cases. When she reaches out to the customer, where does the rest of her day leave room for empathetically talking to a customer in distress?

While case officers and agents hurry through their customer interactions to boost the churn rates, insurance companies often miss a critical factor of organizational growth– great experiences tailored to every different customer interacting with your company at each moment. Fragmented operational models such as these often end up draining the meaning out of key performance indicators (KPIs) such as churn rates and workforce productivity, or skewing their weight in the growth/returns equation. So what’s the key to correcting this skewed equation?

Empowering the case officer

Fragmented workflows not only derail customer experience efforts; they also dampen employee experience. The key to delivering a stellar experience is to empower all stakeholders across the value chain, which brings the focus to the employees, and more specifically, agents and case officers, who deal with your existing clientele on an everyday basis. Remember that case officer’s scenario from the previous section? Imagine a platform where she could track all her tasks in one place, doesn’t have to fill e-forms manually to create tickets and send emails, or read through the lengthy SLAs. What does the upcoming interaction with the customer now look like?

Top players in the industry are now leveraging automation, integration, and AI capabilities of smart CRM solutions like Microsoft PowerInsurance to make this a reality. According to a report, most insurance customers will interact with their agents over multiple channels– text, voice, video, and even social media. CRM solutions like PowerInsurance not only bring these interactions into one place for the agent but also cut the repetitions throughout the agent’s workday.

With AI capabilities, CRM solutions like PowerInsurance can help agents and case officers by automatically classifying cases based on predefined service pathways and digital interactions. In addition, it also cuts the lookup time through SLAs, contracts, and traditional CRM systems. Leveraging Microsoft’s operation design expertise, PowerInsurance seamlessly integrates information with workflows, thereby empowering the agent with the space for customizing experiences, while reducing the scope for error where machines outperform humans. In conjunction with the end-to-end process and information visibility, PowerInsurance truly forms the neural network of the modern insurance enterprise.

Making space

As the pandemic tightens and loosens its grip in waves, insurance companies are already preparing for remote sales of the most complex products in their portfolio. While the industry leverages technology to automate standard processes, insurance agents are delivering value through their ability to tailor experiences and inject uniqueness into interactions. However, while this new-age model of distribution brings down the cost of operations, laying a solid foundation with scalable solutions will be the key to delivering consistent growth.

While the traditional agent model is losing value, the onus is on the industry to empower agents for next-generation distribution and service models. PowerInsurance, with its integration capabilities, can not only build an information highway within the enterprise, but also bring differentiating value propositions, like straight-through processing, AI-assisted customer engagement, and high-level information automation. It is not surprising then, that a capable CRM solution is the precursor to achieving a truly covalent AI-human workforce at the front lines.

Conclusion

While traditional agents are nowhere near extinction, the new role of the client-facing employee is becoming clear with artificial intelligence in insurance as AI makes inroads to key processes in insurance operations – risk assessment, pricing and verification. While Insurance 4.0 will lower the cost of operations, solutions like PowerInsurance also show the flip side of the gold coin– increased productivity, personalized engagement, and better retention.

In tomorrow’s insurance industry, agents will no longer list their tasks but will receive proactive notifications detailing their tasks through a company-wide, interconnected information highway that cuts the noise from the operating machinery of this industry. This will not only enhance the employee experience of the value chain but also pack better value for the customer. Companies must make this leap before today’s differentiating features become tomorrow’s norm.

Enhance the employee experience of the value chain but also pack better value for the customer

References:

  1. https://www.oecd.org/pensions/Technology-and-innovation-in-the-insurance-sector.pdf
  2. https://powerobjects.com/thanks/the-insurance-industrys-plan-for-recovery-from-covid-19/
  3. https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-1-349-12177-9_5
  4. https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/financial-services/our-insights/how-insurance-can-prepare-for-the-next-distribution-model
  5. https://www.mckinsey.com/~/media/mckinsey/dotcom/client_service/financial%20services/latest%20thinking/insurance/agents_of_the_future_the_evolution_of_property_and_casualty_insurance_distribution.pdf
  6. https://www.insurancetech.com/the-technology-behind-stp/d/d-id/1307754d41d.html
  7. https://www.customerthink.com/files2/MarketTools%20CustomerSat_Insurance%20Industry%20Solution%20Brief.pdf
  8. https://www.comparethecloud.net/articles/sla-insurance-policy/