Addressing a serious challenge in insurance today

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It’s a fascinating time in the insurance industry. Insurers of all types face changes in the risk landscape such as new and emerging risk management techniques, the adoption of new capabilities, and exposures brought about by technology and so many human factors, to name just a few.

One of the more pressing issues for insurance companies is the level of service-information expectations that everyone brings with them to any commercial interaction.  We all expect that the person representing the “provider” in any transaction will know us as an established client and will, to some degree, know ahead of time what may be of interest to us in the next interaction. Least of all, we expect sound and accurate insights and advice.

In Insurance, agents, brokers, CSRs and call center staff are expected to quickly provide details, insights and recommendations about more, increasingly complex options.  Yet, doing so can be much more complicated than someone from outside the industry can possibly imagine.

Then there is ongoing issue of the great flux in the sales and support force. As experienced professionals retire, modern new professionals take their place. These modern employees come with their own service-information expectations which insurers must somehow try to meet.

Experienced or new however, we all now expect to be able to get depth of information in a timely way. Insurers, whether in personal lines, commercial lines or the life and annuity space, want to deliver relevant support to their distribution channels.

To edge out competitors, insurers want to empower and train sales people to succeed with current, complete data, delivered quickly. They would like to provide the advisory services that consumers need to make informed decisions.  And that is a huge challenge: How to bridge the gap between new customer expectations, more choices, junior sellers, evolving views of risk, available technology . . . the list goes on.

The net is this: how do I make my sellers more knowledgeable in real time with personalized customer data so they can close the sale?

Finding the right data – fast

One problem is how long it can take to find and vet the right information. Where does the data live? How can it be easily assimilated across systems, applications, silos and business areas? How will agents, including independent agents and brokers, access and use it in consumable bites?

The solution is artificial intelligence. AI may have unlimited application, but its handiest benefit is to find the right information fast and make it useful. For insurers, AI harnesses the data and brings it to bear. AI can power an advisory service that provides opportune insights around products, underwriting guides, appetite guides and more. (For more detail about what AI can do for sellers, see the IBM Watson Expert Assist page).

In the end, faster, smarter information boosts sales agents’ credibility and success. Agents can deliver customized coverage and pricing nuances to make purchase recommendations for insureds. For example, AI can uncover the right policy options in seconds, analyze customer interactions to predict changing needs, or guide conversations. This in turn can improve the insurance company’s competitive position – especially with independent agents, who have choices.

In addition to giving sales people spot-on expertise, AI technology is being used by insurers to offload agent call centers. If there are limited resources, it can add and scale capacity. In chatbots, AI can answer off-the-cuff customer questions in natural language. The reality is that AI helps insurers compete and solve their biggest challenges with multiple new capabilities.

For more information:

IBM offers an industry-specific Watson AI solution with advanced analytics for a custom artificial intelligence expert that assists sales teams. To learn more, register for the on-demand webcast, Expert Assist: An AI solution for insurance.



Global Insurance Industry Executive; IBM Industry Academy Member

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