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Are You Happy To Buy Insurance Coverage From A Chatbot?

Published on 05 Sep 2019

When purchasing insurance in the past, we’d sit in an office or coffee-shop, working our way through a 5-page application form, while the agent asked questions about assets, lifestyle and cover requirements. 

The advent of the web and email has changed things. It killed the face-to-face meeting and encouraged us to apply via a web form. Quite soon after that, we were able to purchase insurance coverage online and receive our insurance documents – policies, cover updates and no claims certificates – by email. 

Now, thanks to artificial intelligence (AI) and big data, we can buy insurance coverage by simply having a text conversation in a chat app.

Chatbots can effectively become automated insurance agents. Behind the chat interface is a sophisticated set of processes that mine multiple data sets and apply AI to resolve a customer query. 

From the insurers’ side, using technology to remove humans from the easy parts of the most basic of customer conversations, is a no brainer. It makes sense to rather focus human effort on tasks that machines aren’t capable of doing yet.

So, knowing that we’re interacting with a machine, not a human, we have to ask:

“Would you buy insurance coverage from a chatbot?”  

Want to get a broader picture of how AI will change the insurance CX?

Our expert’s insight 

In many ways, insurance products are well suited to purchasing via a chatbot, as they are based on applying pre-defined rules to measurable risk factors. 

It’s a straightforward question and answer qualification process. 

Having said that, each of the shifts described above require a leap of faith from us, the consumers. We have to get our heads around revealing sensitive, personal information over unfamiliar channels. 

To counter any resistance customers may feel, insurers are placing their chatbots inside chat apps that already have a massive reach. Take Facebook Messenger, for example. As the third most used app in the world, with 1.3 billion active users, Facebook Messenger has extended way beyond a place to chat with friends. 

There are over 300,000 chatbots on Messenger. If you’re looking for insurance, you can now compare products, get quotations and purchase policies – all via a text conversation with a friendly, well informed machine. You can also use the chatbot once you’ve signed up with an insurer – you can get detailed information about your policy and coverage really quickly, by popping a question in the chat box.

But, is the information you give the chatbot going to be kept secure and private? 

The good news is:

While interacting with a chatbot may feel fresh and innovative, the technology powering the process is pretty standard, and has long-established security protocols. 

Just as with websites, it’s wise to check on the legitimacy of a chatbot before you hand over your personal information. Fortunately, the main chat platforms follow a process very similar to the app stores. 

There are hoops to jump through to get a chatbot hosted on the major platforms, which means you can entrust the chatbots you find on Messenger with your personal information.  

Elizabeth Stephen

Elizabeth Stephen

VP of Customer Engagement, The Americas

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