Industry Technosavvy the October 2017 issue

Let’s Chat!

Insurers are increasing use of digital voice assistants and chatbots.
By Michael Fitzpatrick Posted on October 2, 2017

Now that we’re all comfortable talking to machines, more insurers are adding digital voice assistants and texting chatbots to help consumers. Farmers Insurance customers who own an Amazon Echo can now ask Alexa, the virtual assistant, to access their policy and claims information just using their voice. Farmers follows Liberty Mutual, which last year enabled customers to seek auto insurance quotes and answers to questions about home and auto using Alexa. Allstate added Alexa voice assistant capabilities earlier this year.

Nationwide’s Alexa capabilities include enabling users of its SmartRide usage-based insurance program to ask about their personal driving habits to help them drive more safely, and reduce their premiums. Noting that insurance can be complex for customers, Aviva launched an Alexa “skill” that allows customers to ask questions about hundreds of insurance terms. Progressive customers with a Google Assistant can ask the device a variety of questions about their personal insurance.

Since more people are typing rather than talking on their phones, chatbots are getting bigger as well. Among the big insurers, Geico’s chatbot Kate answers questions including those on policies and billing.

But startups are really making their mark with chatbots. Massachusetts-based Insurify provides auto quote comparisons with a Facebook Messenger chatbot. Palo Alto-based Next Insurance offers full insurance signup via Facebook Messenger for small business owners, such as personal trainers, photographers and construction tradespeople.

Lemonade’s chatbot helps customers buy homeowners and renters insurance, and it also settles and pays claims. On-demand insurer Trov enables users to buy insurance for personal items using a mobile app and to settle claims using an in-app chatbot.

Chicago startup HealthJoy provides a healthcare concierge chatbot, called Joy, that helps users navigate care and benefits. And then there’s the Woebot, designed by a Stanford researcher along with psychologists. If you’d like to chat with an automated therapist who’s always ready to listen, check up on you and offer a little insight, Woebot is waiting.

Michael Fitzpatrick Technology Editor Read More

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