Brokerage Ops Technosavvy the September 2019 issue

Modernizing Insurance Communication

Q&A with Mike Greene, CEO & Co-Founder of Hi Marley
By Michael Fitzpatrick Posted on August 15, 2019
Tell us about Hi Marley and how it’s using artificial intelligence to improve the customer experience.
We founded Hi Marley on the premise that today only 43% of people trust the insurance industry. Trust is ultimately the product that we sell. It’s a promise that comes through at a moment of truth. After 20 years in the industry, we were thinking about how we can help solve this problem. We ultimately came to the conclusion that communication is the foundation for trust.

Today, no one answers the phone anymore. We created a solution to this—an AI-enabled text-messaging platform that allows the entire insurance ecosystem to communicate with the end insured in a modern way. We’re very much a communication platform enabling human-to-human interactions.

How does Hi Marley differ from a simple chatbot?
First and foremost, we’re not a chatbot. Our view is there are lots of different parties—insurance companies, agents, contractors, body shops—all playing phone tag. Our conversational platform is really enabling those different entities to communicate in one seamless text conversation back to the customer. We have AI-enabled capabilities that allow for auto response during key times, after-hours claims, or helping to scale during [catastrophe] season when the volumes are too high to handle. We’re looking at AI to help in sentiment analysis, for example, to identify when customers are frustrated and the like, but it’s very different from a chatbot solution.
How does the technology help break down silos?
Think of Hi Marley as a platform that includes a set of apps and a portfolio of APIs that allow the insurance company, its agents and service providers—which could be rental car companies, glass vendors, body shops, independent adjusters—to all join the conversation.

Take an auto claim, for example. You could be talking to an injury adjuster, a physical damage adjuster, a body shop, a rental car company, and today that could be upwards of seven different people, multiple companies, all through one-off conversations. We’re pulling down silos by allowing that to be one transparent conversation across all parties.

From a customer’s perspective, it’s one streamlined conversation. The customer gets one text group chat, and each party is kept apprised of what’s going on with the process. And they’re avoiding redundant efforts as well.

You have some predictive aspects to the technology?
Right now, we’re extending the platform to a lot of different use cases—claims, service, underwriting. It’s a complex world for insurance companies and users. We are leveraging our platform to bring to bear the most important priorities for these carriers to work on. So sentiment analysis—we get insight into when customers are delighted. Our view is we can leverage that in a lot of different ways.

To give you an example, we had an awesome survey result come in where a policyholder had a claim and they were extremely delighted with the insurance carrier’s service. They said, “I told all my friends and family about that, and they all want to switch to you.” Imagine how you could leverage that knowledge.

How does the technology help with claims?
Statistics show that, post claim, 40% of people are likely to explore switching their insurance company. That’s after they have received the product that they paid for. That’s a real problem for the industry. The solution is to provide fast, transparent, easy claims service that ultimately delights the customer. With claims being 70 cents on the insurance carrier dollar, how do we take three to five combined ratio points out of the process while doing it? It’s really killing two birds with one stone—delight the customer and reduce costs. It’s one of those rare cases where you actually see an improvement in both.
When you talk about reduced claim cycle times, what kind of results are carriers seeing?
On the most conservative end, we’re seeing a 20% reduction in cycle time. That obviously makes for happier customers, less phone tag, less in admin costs and more. Shorter cycle times also lead to lower paid loss, fewer rental days, less loss of use and ultimately better trust with the customer, potentially avoiding litigation.

One of our carriers deployed our platform just ahead of Hurricane Florence. Minutes after the storm passed, its policyholders were communicating with their carrier in real time. They ultimately reduced time to contact and time to inspect those homes post cat by 50%. We believe we’re just scratching the surface. There is tremendous potential to lift the opportunity from there.

Tell us about how you’re working with insurers.
We’re operating across all major lines of business right now, from personal auto and home to commercial lines, like casualty, BOP, workers compensation and more. We’ve got some really cool usage in workers compensation where an adjuster, a nurse case manager, a supervisor—all three parties collaborate around the injured worker to make them whole and get them back to work, healthy again. We haven’t come across a line of business where we haven’t seen the value. So far, every line of business that we’re seeing is benefitting from the platform.
Do you see opportunities working with agents and brokers?
Absolutely. We are of a strong mind that agents and brokers are a critical category in the insurance ecosystem. We’ve started partnering with insurance carriers, working with them to connect with some of their top agents to explore that three-way collaboration. We started with carriers in claims, policyholder services and underwriting. This quarter, we started conversations with carriers and their agency networks to explore the sales and distribution use case. Ultimately, win-win-win. Insurance carriers and agents improve ease of doing business, and the customers get a seamless conversation across those different entities.
What's next for the company?
It’s twofold. Firstly, as we’ve gone from claims to services to underwriting, we’re thrilled to be starting to expand into the sales and distribution use cases—the agency market. We’re also excited about the extended ecosystem. We’ve got some partnership discussions taking place that will broaden our ecosystem reach.

From a functionality perspective, while we started in conversations, we’re starting to move to facilitate transactions—think of things like payments and other transactions, and then eventually leveraging all that conversational and transactional data to help carriers deliver better service, underwrite risk better and ultimately deliver a better customer experience.

Michael Fitzpatrick Technology Editor Read More

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