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How automation and technology can help raise insurance net promoter scores

By: Christopher M. Wells, Ph. D.
May 4, 2023 | Customer Experience, Intelligent Intake, Unstructured Unlocked

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Insurance companies are always interested in ways to improve customer satisfaction and their net promoter score (NPS). As a company focused on a form of intelligent document processing called intelligent intake, we naturally have some thoughts on how they might use technology to go about doing just that.

My co-host Michelle Gouveia and I batted around some ideas on how insurance companies can apply automation and technology in general to improve NPS and take advantage of, or even create opportunities to improve the customer experience. Gouveia focuses on insurance technology for Sandbox Industries, drawing on her experience with firms including Travelers and Hartford Steam Boiler (HSB), a global specialty insurer and reinsurer that’s now part of Munich Re.

In general, a few simple elements add up to a good customer experience: transparency, accuracy and speed. And let’s face it, the two times when clients connect with their insurance company are when they first secure a policy and when they file a claim. That makes your underwriting and claims departments the face of your company to the vast majority of clients, so they’re a good place to focus automation and customer satisfaction efforts.

On the podcast, Gouveia and I readily admitted that neither of us are exactly experts on customer satisfaction in insurance, but we are pretty savvy about technology and automation. And it didn’t take long to recognize that insurance companies can draw on technology long employed by e-commerce companies to improve their NPS ratings.

Listen to the full podcast here: Unstructured Unlocked episode 17 – How automation enables insurance companies to increase CX metrics


Chat-bots add speed to insurance processes


Chat-bots are one example. We all see them everywhere now and they can be useful for answering simple questions. They can also be effective for first- or second-level triage, such as in claims processing, before you get passed to a live agent. They key there is to make sure the live agent has access to the chat, so you don’t make the customer repeat everything. We’ve all been there, too, and it’s frustrating to say the least. Avoiding such a scenario involves both technology as well as attention to the process involved. In short, don’t automate a flawed process.

Artificial intelligence technology may be able to bring chat-bots to the next level. Gouveia talked about how insurance companies that focus on small businesses may be able to use chat to aid in underwriting, for example. The insured could answer some simple questions about their business via chat, and an AI engine behind the scenes could offer up policy recommendations. To the extent that makes it simpler for the client to work with your company, it can provide a positive customer experience and ultimately raise your NPS.


Transparency: taking inspiration from e-commerce


In terms of providing transparency, Gouveia and I agreed insurance companies would do well to learn from e-commerce companies like DoorDash and Amazon.

DoorDash provides a good user experience by keeping customers apprised of where their order stands, from, “We’ve got it,” and “We’re cooking it,” to “It’s on its way.”  I could see insurance companies providing a similar experience during underwriting, for example, keeping clients apprised when they receive the application, when they determine all required information is intact, when it’s with the underwriter, and so on.

Gouveia noted the Amazon experience may also be relevant, in terms of making suggestions. When a client is making a policy decision, find other, similar clients and show what they opted for, essentially providing educational information to help clients make more informed decisions.

That could be either in an online experience or, more likely for commercial insurance, a prompt you can give live agents as they’re speaking with brokers. If you think about what’s likely to increase a customer satisfaction score, it’s being able to get things done quickly and having some comfort that you bought the right thing. This sort of suggestive technology helps meet both goals.

And with technologies such as ChatGPT, you can start to enable clients to ask meaningful questions and draw on a repository of data to provide effective answers.


Related content: How ChatGPT and other GPT-3 AI technologies may apply to the insurance industry


Insurance automation: Starting from scratch


If I were starting from scratch in building an insurance technology platform, I would map out the typical customer journey, from initial policy application to claims and any touch points in between. Collect all the information that’s relevant at each step and keep track of it all in that central repository.  Then you can start analyzing where the gaps are. At what points do customers sort of disappear, where you don’t hear from them for long periods of time, and is there something you can do about that?

That’s an important exercise because, as Gouveia pointed out, clients typically connect with their insurance company only when they first secure a policy and when they file a claim. So, finding ways to connect outside of those (potentially stressful) interactions can give carriers a way to stay top of mind with clients.

Perhaps it’s a weather situation like a hurricane or blizzard bearing down and you can provide reminders on steps to take to prevent property damage. Whatever the case may be, I would think finding ways to stay in touch with clients with useful information can go a long way toward improving those NPSs.

Find the full transcript of the podcast here.

Those are some of my highlights from our conversation, but draw your own conclusions by checking out our full conversation on YouTube or on your favorite podcast platform, including:

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