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5 Insurance Front-Office Processes You Can Improve with AI

6 minutes, 5 seconds read

Amidst the growing footprint of Insurtech around the world, Insurance service models continue to evolve for both front and back-office processes. Currently, InsurTechs are using AI in three main areas: Customer Experience (58%), Product Innovation (43%), and Process Improvement (19%) — according to a McKinsey report. An organization’s ‘Front Office’ strategy will need to embody intelligent sales force automation, call-centre management, help-desk applications, product configuration and risk assessment tools. Insurance Carriers are restructuring these operations with an outward focus — aimed at improving interactions with their customers. 

While the Insurance back-office is focussed on streamlining in-house operations, the front office is responsible for driving customer experience, engagement and behaviour. However, most front-office operations deal with repetitive customer-facing jobs. Using Artificial Intelligence-based technologies such as RPA, tasks that require human mediation can now be handed over to automation technologies that imitate human interactions. Gartner estimates 20% of RPA will be cloud-based by 2022.

The real benefit of undergoing automation transformation is that both the front & back office can now be contextually linked in a smart manner — avoiding ‘working in isolation’ for extended periods. Customer-facing agents and reps can access information across the back-end more reliably and faster than before. Automating even routine tasks such as updating customer information, performing security checks, fetching product details or updating complaint forms — can reduce resolution times and the potential for manual errors.

This allows the front-office staff to focus on the most pressing matter — the relationship with the customer.

Customer servicing can now take place at incredible scale and complexity using chat, mobile and voice self-service tools. For example, speech recognition can capture what type of service to offer the customer (eg: update contact information, access policy details etc). These tools can also detect ‘anger’ or ‘frustration’ from the tone of voice and the information is passed to front-line reps who can quickly resolve an issue. As a result, remote diagnostics and self-service tools will see enhanced adoption over the coming years. The market for AI-enabled technologies in the claims process alone will be worth $72B by 2020.

5 key front-office operations that can be improved with AI

  1. Underwriting
    The most central function within the insurance value chain is to price risk. Using AI, the insurance underwriting process is now empowered with real-time insights derived from models analysis tons of customer-centric data.

    Using historical data, machine learning models can be trained to understand ‘known risks’ based on experience. For ‘unknown risks’, IoT sensors play a crucial role — by delivering a real-time picture of an ongoing operation. This allows for a second model to infer risk based on current data and the entire historical record of that specific process.

    Armed with in-depth knowledge about risk, insurers are moving from traditional risk pricing to a more proactive risk mitigation role. Through this new approach, carriers can set up real-time risk alerts, predict fraud and more accurately forecast ‘claims occurrence’ across the customer life cycle.

  2. Policy Administration
    A policy administration system is a backbone that manages all the policies within an insurance company. From the first point of interaction to fetching data from the back-office — most, if not all core operations run through this system. However, most insurance organizations still rely on legacy systems that require tremendous workaround using manual efforts.

    According to a study by Celent, nearly 45% of Insurance CIOs identified disconnected and duplicative legacy systems as a key inhibitor to digital transformation.

    Today’s challenging market dynamics and competitive pricing pressures are changing this approach. There are several areas worth investing in for carriers such as image & voice recognition to capture and authenticate customer information at the initial contact stage to intelligent entity extraction tools for understanding even handwritten text from a physical document.

    Automation enhancements help drive policyholder retention by improving connectivity to the back-end and delivering the most optimal outcomes for front-office workflows.

  3. Claims Management

    Claims are the most widely scrutinized function within the insurance value chain. Most claims servicing is performed by human agents over the phone. With speech recognition, these conversations can be automatically transcribed/ translated in real-time. This frees up more agent time to handle greater issues while leaving automation enabled self-service to handle the most basic customer queries.

    Claims assessment or loss estimation itself can be performed remotely using image recognition tools linked to algorithms that can calculate the payout for the policyholder.

    Without the need for human intervention, straight-through processing can be dramatically improved by reducing processing time — allowing human agents to react faster to policyholders demands.

    Also, read – How AI can settle claims in 5 minutes!

  4. Marketing & Sales Distribution
    According to Salesforce, only 36% of the average salespersons’ week is spent selling. Human sales reps typically spend a large portion of their time nurturing unqualified leads. With sales funnel maximizers, like LCA, reps can get quick access to leads that have been scored, prioritised and allocated for the right agent to optimize conversions.

    Distribution and sales chains are moving to a completely digital and affinity-based ecosystem. Chatbots and virtual agents can, therefore, play a critical role in increasing cross-sell and up-sell opportunities. These AI-enabled tools are fitted with Natural Language Processing (NLP) capabilities to contextually interpret the interaction with the customer.

    AI also leverages predictive analytics to produce behavioural insights when pitching the customer — allowing the agent to ask the right questions, address unmet needs and resolve anticipated near-term challenges.

  5. Product Personalization
    Using Machine Learning algorithms to precisely price risk, allows Carriers to understand the complexities involved in new product development — especially measuring the ‘unknown risks’ involved in creating new product lines.

    Data (both historical and IoT derived) coupled with predictive analytics can offer more personalised guidance to insurance buying. InsurTechs are poising themselves strategically in this area, ahead of the large carriers, to attract a new and younger customer base. Companies like MetroMile, Trov and Lemonade have been able to create unique offerings with AI-derived insights fine-tuned to the individual, while also charging much lower premiums than the market.

    New customers are able to buy convenient, sachet-type, even pay-as-you-use modelled insurance products for protecting their assets (mobile, laptop, home appliances, short travel, vacations etc). This has brought about an appetite for on-demand insurance where insurance can be bought, queries can be resolved and claims can be processed, all within a few minutes.

Other Customer-Facing Areas improved by AI

1. Proactive Front-Office Processes 
2. Precise Risk Mitigation/Active loss prevention
3. Chatbots and Robo-advisors 
4. Real-time Underwriting 
5. Accurate Claims Processing 
6. Direct Marketing & Cu0stomer Retention
 7. Bespoke Insurance Advice
 8. Understanding User’s Emotions 

Forrester predicts the impact of intelligent automation — through evidence in ‘the service desk’. They claim: automation will eliminate 20% of all service desk interactions, by the end of 2019. Enabling human workers with digital assistants in the insurance front-office has scope for very high disruption. Human agents are prone to making repeat errors that automation equipped with AI can fix easily — especially in routine and repetitive tasks.

Carriers, now have the opportunity to boost their market position by improving agent productivity, reducing operational inefficiencies like reprocessing, producing errorless transactions for customers and thereby creating an uninterrupted service chain.
Mantra Labs solves the most challenging front & back-office operations plaguing the Insurance value chain. To know more about our work in this space, reach out to us on hello@mantralabsglobal.com.

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Enterprises investing in Workplace Mobility Can Survive Pandemics

4 minutes, 21 seconds read

Nearly one-third of the global population is under coronavirus lockdown. Large-scale quarantines and travel restrictions are posing challenges for businesses to continue their operations. While workforce protection remains the top priority for enterprises, prolonged isolation is an eye-opener to adopt workplace mobility.

As the world continues to fight the pandemic, flatten the curve and try to maintain normalcy by working from home — teams everywhere are trying to stay productive so that daily operations can continue to some degree. But this is not an easy task. By working remotely, there are a lot of challenges especially in communication and connectivity, not to mention challenges with remaining productive throughout the day. 

There was a time when mobility at work was considered a perk. Today, almost everyone, at some point, agrees that flexibility and liberty to work from home is essential. The 2020 Enterprise Mobility Trends Report anticipates that 42% (18.7 billion) of the global workforce will embrace mobility by 2020.

The need for workplace mobility

Workplace mobility empowers people to work from anywhere, at any time and from any device. It directly impacts employee productivity as well as the speed to execute business processes. How?

Dan Ariely, in his book Predictably Irrational, categorizes human behaviour in lines with the market and social norms. Market norms apply a monetary value to every transaction — salaries or payments against skill/talent. Whereas, social norms rely on the exchange of gifts, kindness, favour, etc. and is far away from any monetary transaction. 

While stringent work policies tend to inculcate market norms (skills are calculated against salaries), flexibility instils social norms (empathy and concern). People are willing to do more on their free-will.

In this 24/7 work environment social norms have a great advantage: they tend to make employees passionate, hardworking, flexible, and concerned. In a market where employees’ loyalty to their employers is often wilting, social norms are one of the best ways to make workers loyal, as well as motivated.

– suggests Ariely

How apps and AI-driven mobility solutions for employees can keep businesses operationally afloat?

By 2025, the number of unique mobile subscribers is projected to reach 5.9 billion. Market researchers also anticipate that there’ll be nearly 25 billion IoT devices, most of which will comprise business-related connected devices. However, it’s not just handy devices that are enabling mobility at work. Technologies are also empowering businesses to readily adopt mobility. 

For instance, Google has introduced a deck of enterprise mobility solutions. It provides cloud support to collaboration apps and management tools. Apart from G Suite, Google has invested in android and chrome platforms to support workplace mobility. 

Workplace mobility apps and features

Many organizations require time logs to ensure overtime and bonuses. Apps like SecurTime provide a cloud-based time-attendance workforce management solution with real-time tracking. It seamlessly integrates with payroll/HRMS and biometric systems without any dependency on hardware.

When people work remotely, creating a virtual collaborative environment can concern businesses. While email is the channel for all formal communication, it’s usual to lose track of conversations in emails and messengers. To organize work and priorities at the team level, Slack and Trello are popular apps.

Organizations with in-house software development teams often face hassles while planning, tracking, resolving bugs & issues and releasing products. Jira — an agile project management tool helps organizations to track every phase of product development and team progress irrespective of their physical location.

AI-driven enterprise mobility solutions

Mobile devices and cloud platforms are making it easier for teams to collaborate and deliver. Moreover, employees save substantial time on travelling, which gives them time to indulge in activities that foster creativity. 

Gartner predicts that by 2021, 40% of new enterprise applications will include AI technologies. So far, the adoption of AI was seen in consumer-facing operations to enhance customer experiences. Now, organizations are also focusing on enhancing employee experiences. For example, leading organizations are using NLP-powered chatbots for handling employee-queries regarding leave, work from home intimation, business-travel, etc. 

[Related: AI in recruitment and discovering talent]

Technology can equip employees with information at hand. AI solutions like Zelros provide instant information to Insurance sales advisors regarding products, clients, etc. 

AI-powered applications are becoming more human-centred and they can execute commands without touching/pressing a button. For example, with gesture recognition technology and voice user interface, simple tasks like sharing a file, reading a report, etc. can be done while driving, spending time with kids, evening walks, etc. removing dependencies that delay work.

[Related: How does AI recognize hand gestures]

The use of AI is evolving to automatically prioritize problems and send notifications to the concerned departments. SVM (Support Vector Machine) and CNN (Convolutional Neural Network) are machine learning algorithms for building classification models.

The bottom line

While one can prevent wars, natural calamities and pandemics are unavoidable. In the current context, the heat of the Corona outbreak is severely impacting industries including aviation, e-commerce, education, tourism, entertainment, hospitality, electronics, consumer and luxury goods. Businesses are thriving to remain operationally afloat. 

Embracing mobility at work today can prepare organizations for tomorrow’s pandemic resilience. 

Mantra Labs is helping enterprises invest in building their pandemic resilience by planning and scaling their mobility infrastructures, and enable greater use of mobility as a service. Talk to us today to know how we can help you, or reach out to us at hello@mantralabsglobal.com.

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