Enrico Pruis

Enrico Pruis is Business Development Director at Virtual Affairs "My biggest motivator is allowing the company I work for to be best in class and, at least in some way, contributing to a better world."

The vast potential of Artificial Intelligence for insurers

By Enrico Pruis

Artificial intelligence, a term that has both been popularized by Hollywood to make robots more menacing and writers who need an interesting word to describe smart technology. But what is artificial intelligence exactly? Artificial intelligence consists of a range of data and technologies that make software smart enough to interpret data in order to autonomously control machines, produce forecasts, derive actions and to hold conversations. Moreover, AI systems use advanced algorithms to constantly learn from newly inputted data to adjust and enhance their predictions and interpret context. An important difference between machine learning technologies – which likewise can track developments and recognize patterns – and artificial intelligence is that artificial intelligence is able to apply its learnings in new situations. 

Google speech assistant Duplex made its first hair dressers appointment a few weeks ago in a phone conversation that was indistinguishable from human interaction. Sony Interactive launched a video game last month called Detroit: become human. It elaborates on the ultimate state of Artificial Intelligence. It depicts robots built to serve human kind. Some of them have become self-aware and in some aspects of their behavior have become more human than actual real people.  Although Detroit: become human still describes a vision of the future that is a decade or more away, the technology is rapidly evolving. Most of the technology is in place, it's just not affordable yet for the masses. It isn't hard to imagine that when we combine voice technology, robotics and artificial intelligence, the insurance industry can benefit from more customer centric interaction.  Companies like the Chinese CareVoice are great examples, making health care more available.

But how to implement those next level chatbots to increase customer experience? During the last couple of years, the industrial use of AI has seen an uprising – in terms of interest, investment and implementation. As of now, some of the leading firms and companies within insurance are deploying IT capabilities, which can carry out conversations quickly and consistently. AI related technologies like machine learning, speech recognition and natural language processing are showing a vast potential for the insurance industry. 

Both Detroit: become human and the CareVoice initiative have prompted public and private debate on just how much we can and want to outsource to robotized conversation. Where lies the line between increased customer service and misguided communication. If GDPR dictates we are upfront about what personal information we store and what we use it for, how long until we are bound by law to be upfront about who we are talking to: a robot or a human being? Determining what interaction can be performed by a robot is ultimately an ethical one, not a technological one. In terms of technology we can already accomplish a lot.  

Rome wasn't built in a day and an insurers service department is not replaced by robots in a year. We can therefore start by overcoming the hurdle of embracing new service opportunities, especially in those areas that are undisputed. Embracing the possibilities of conversational user interfaces will substantially improve client satisfaction. Let’s take it one robo-step at a time.

If you want to know more about the hurdles to take and best practices to follow when implementing conversational user interfaces, read our whitepaper.

Go to whitepaper download page