Voice AI for Insurance: Streamline Inbound Support

Today, the expectations of insurance customers are heavily influenced by the tech first disruptors. In order for traditional insurance companies to continue with their market domination, they will need to take a comprehensive and structural approach to transform their business models to compete with the nimbler tech-savvy entrants- Insurtechs, which are redefining product offerings and customer experience (CX).

The insurance industry is going through a tectonic shift, as more consumers are buying insurance policies online rather than taking the help of agents/brokers, in order to minimize contact – a behavioural change that has accelerated due to the recent Covid-19 pandemic. The online insurance market in India is expected to grow to INR 220 billion by 2024 (Mordor Intelligence report). However, most insurance companies are overwhelmed with the increased surge and face a hard time in resolving queries of leads and customers. 

Since the trend is only going to increase in the future, it’s critical for insurance companies to reimagine their inbound support strategy. With limited resources and increasing support queries, insurance companies need to leverage the right technology and automation to see results.

AI Voice bots, for example, are becoming increasingly popular among insurance companies and are being leveraged by many insurance companies to answer mundane support requests and streamline the claims process. In this blog, we dive deeper and understand exactly how AI Voice bots are driving value for insurance companies when it comes to inbound support –

Role of Voice AI 

Voice AI is a combination of technologies that enables interaction between computers and customers through voice. AI Voice bots that are powered by Voice AI are built using sophisticated and advanced Artificial Intelligence (AI) algorithms. 

With the ability to understand the context and intent and hold human-like conversations they can engage with customers and assist them without any human intervention. 

By connecting with the customer at different stages in the customer journey, be it to remind them about upcoming renewals, lead qualification, answer FAQs or inform about claim submission status, AI voice bots delight the customer while freeing up additional agent bandwidth to take up complex tasks. 

While the solution is equally effective in increasing renewals and for proactive customer engagement, in this blog, we’ll just focus on how it can streamline inbound support – 

Answering FAQs around policy quickly

Insurance companies receive a lot of inbound queries daily around premium payment terms, maturity date, lock-in period and more. A huge chunk of these queries are mundane in nature and don’t need human assistance. However, most insurance companies still resolve these questions manually. 

With limited bandwidth, companies struggle in reducing response times. Also, this negatively impacts the productivity of the agents as they waste their time answering repeated queries each day. 

A great way to fix this is by leveraging AI voice bots to answer these questions. They can easily understand the customer’s query and resolve it instantly 24/7. Customers no longer need to wait in a queue or go through complicated IVR systems. With the right integrations, AI voice bots can easily fetch customer past data to provide a personalized support experience. 

By freeing up agent bandwidth, human agents get more time in resolving complex support queries. Customers on the other hand get immediate answers to their queries which could have otherwise easily taken a few minutes. 

Additionally, AI voice bots are extremely helpful in tackling surges in the number of support queries during certain events such as a flood, earthquake etc. 

Enhancing the claims experience 

The claims process is a defining moment in a policy holder’s life. They expect it to be frictionless. However, most of the time they’re left disappointed. Traditionally, the insurance claims process has been slow and challenging. Getting a claim processed in a few days or weeks with minimal effort is nothing less than a miracle. 

With time, insurance companies have understood this. They know it’s critical for customer retention, sustainable growth and differentiating themselves from the competition. Hence, they constantly employ different strategies and technology solutions to streamline their claims process and make it more efficient. 

But, oftentimes, the reason for dissatisfaction among customers has to do with the lack of information around the status of the claim (especially during life-changing events) than the overall processing time. To fix this, insurance companies can leverage AI voice bots.

AI voice bots can intelligently assist customers throughout the claims process and even proactively inform them about the status of their claims. They can answer common questions around how to raise a claim, claim forms and more. If required they can also seamlessly do handoff calls to agents. 

By engaging with customers at every stage and keeping them in the loop, they prevent any information gap and remove the need for them to reach support. This significantly enhances the customers’ claims experience, thus increasing satisfaction and customer loyalty. 

The road ahead for Insurers

By focusing on convenience, personalization, friction less customer service and building loyalty insurers can stay ahead of the competition and attract loyal customers. But the road ahead for them is not easy. Insurers need to invest in customer-centricity to build and maintain a competitive edge.

About Skit

Skit is an Augmented Voice Intelligence Platform, helping businesses modernize their contact centers and customer experience by automating and improving voice communications at scale. By enabling preemptive, intelligent problem solving and seamless live interactions, we have automated over 15 million calls for global enterprises across industries. We help our customers streamline their contact center operations, reduce costs, and also enhance customer experience and engagement.

Connect with us if you’re interested in learning more about the platform and how it can streamline your contact center strategy.

Voice AI for Insurance: Improving Persistency and Renewals

The insurance industry in India is expected to hit $250Bn by 2025. However, the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has upended industries including insurance, forcing them to adapt to new customer behaviors during this crisis. The insurance industry has to respond to these challenges with newer products to meet the new demands. However, just selling these products is not enough; repeat purchases and renewals of policies are a necessity for sustained growth.

Persistency rate (percentage of policyholders who continue to pay their renewal premium) is by far the most important metric that insurance companies track especially for policies like term and life insurance. Since the number of policies lapsed directly impacts revenue and profitability, companies constantly apply different strategies to increase persistency.  

Indian insurance companies, for example, greatly struggle in maintaining high persistency rates. To throw some numbers, the average persistency rate for life insurance policies in the 13th month was just 61% during 2015-2016, compared to the global average of 90%. 

While insurance companies have taken up various initiatives to solve this problem, there’s no quick-fix solution to the problem as multiple factors influence renewals. 

Different challenges faced by insurance companies 

While there are multiple reasons that negatively impact persistency, mis-selling and lack of customer engagement are by far the biggest challenges. Let us learn about each of them in-depth below. 

Mis-selling of the policy  

With 76% of consumers relying on agents/brokers to learn about policies such as life insurance, a large number of consumers fall prey to mis-selling every day. Many agents make unrealistic promises to sell the insurance policy as their focus is more on gaining the upfront commission than selling the right policy. 

Insurance companies are trying their best to curb mis-selling by employing different strategies and practices like PIVC (Pre-Insurance Verification call) where a call is triggered by the insurance company to share the important insurance details and confirm it with the policyholder. While the number of mis-selling complaints is reducing, it still continues to be a big threat for insurance companies.

Mrin Agarwal, founder director, Finsafe India, said that mis-selling of insurance is rampant. In most cases, consumers themselves are not aware that they are being overpromised returns. Insurance agents sell policies claiming 8% returns per annum but the actual XIRR (real rate of return) comes at 3-4% only. 

Below are few reasons why mis-selling is so common in countries like India:

Lack of need-based selling and segmentation 

Multiple reports show that there’s a huge dissatisfaction among customers when it comes to their insurance policy. This makes them unsure whether they should renew the policy or not. Most often this is because they’ve brought a policy that they don’t need.

The lack of need-based selling is one of the several issues that cause policy lapsation. The only way to fix it is by customer segmentation and by understanding their need through data to ensure the right policies are sold to the right customers.

Lack of education and ineffective communication 

Financial literacy plays an important role in ensuring consumers choose the right policy for themselves. They cannot be overdependent on agents for this. For example, many consumers still look at life insurance from a tax-saving perspective rather than its long term benefit.

Over 38% of consumers find life insurance products too complicated and find the need for expert assistance. (LexisNexis Report)

Lack of customer engagement

Another reason for low persistency rates is the lack of customer engagement. Insurance companies put little to no effort in communicating the different benefits of the policies and in educating customers about the importance of insurance policies. Rather they only engage at the time of renewal or for cross-selling. This lack of focus on customer experience makes consumers feel less secure and greatly impacts the renewal rate. 

Hence, one of the biggest reasons why customers don’t end up renewing their policy is because they lack confidence in the policy they’ve bought. A report shows that only 42% of people with life insurance were “very confident” that they purchased the right life insurance policy. 

Inability to identify risky customers early

Usually, insurance customers use channels like emails and SMS to remind customers about their upcoming renewals. While they work to an extent, it’s unidirectional, meaning it doesn’t capture any intent from the customer whether they’re looking to pay it in a few days, they’re facing issues with payment or whether they don’t want to renew the policy at all.

Since they only understand the intent, a few days before when they start calling customers who haven’t paid, it leaves them with very little to no time in understanding the customer’s problems and solving them. This significantly impacts conversions. 

What’s the solution?

Let’s look at different strategies insurance companies can implement to tackle the above challenges –

Constant Engagement across the journey 

Insurance companies cannot afford to shift their focus on consumers after conversion. To ensure they exactly know the benefits of their policy and the value it can add, companies need to effectively onboard them. Surprisingly, many policyholders have little to no information about the policy they hold.

Secondly, companies need to engage with customers at regular intervals, be it for education, sharing critical updates or just checking on them during certain events (like a pandemic). This will greatly help in making them feel valued and promote loyalty. 

Voice AI is an innovative and scalable way to craft multiple and personalized touchpoints for constant customer engagement. 

Companies shouldn’t just limit their communication just to renewals and upselling/cross-selling.

Reimagining their renewal framework 

There’s no doubt that reminder calls for renewals greatly impact persistency and timely repayments. However, the framework used by insurance companies is in a lot of ways broken.

The current framework that most insurance companies leverage is unidirectional which means that it just focuses on reminding the users about the renewal without capturing their intent. While this works to a large extent, it causes multiple challenges including – 

  • Slower collections 
  • High cost of collection (as the number of manual calls needs to be made increases)
  • Low engagement 
  • Lower customer satisfaction (as all customers are treated as one) 

An effective way to fix this is by capturing the user’s intent after each engagement. Hence, rather than using a voice blast, companies can leverage AI voice bots capable of holding natural conversations, to not only remind customers but also capture their intent. Using this data, AI voice bots can either reschedule the reminder call or share the intent with the agent for further communication.

For example, if a user responds by saying that he/she will pay after a few days, AI voice bots can intelligently schedule a call in case the payment is still pending. 

Again, insurance companies are free to leverage any channel of their choice, as long as they’re able to capture the user’s intent (critical for segmentation and personalization). 

By using this framework, insurance companies can – 

  • Close campaigns (for renewals) faster (by decreasing the number of manual calls to made) 
  • Segment risky customers early  
  • Reduce the collection costs significantly

Thus insurance companies need to think and act more decisively to forge deep customer relationships and invest in building truly digital and agile organizations.  

About Skit

Skit is an Augmented Voice Intelligence Platform, helping businesses modernize their contact centers and customer experience by automating and improving voice communications at scale. By enabling preemptive, intelligent problem solving and seamless live interactions, we have automated over 15 million calls for global enterprises across industries. We help our customers streamline their contact center operations, reduce costs, and also enhance customer experience and engagement.

Connect with us if you’re interested in learning more about the platform and how it can modernize and transform your contact center.