Insurers are moving away from paper based transactions. Source: Shutterstock

Insurers in Asia are getting serious about leveraging AI

JUST a few months ago, businesses and citizens were complaining about the poor adoption of technology in the insurance sector.

So, the leaders have responded by ramping up investments in new and emerging technologies to streamline operations, wow customers, and transform their business.

Going by the solutions they’re announcing, it seems that the industry is particularly keen on exploring the applications of artificial intelligence (AI) over other technologies.

Their choice, of course, has been appreciated by customers.

Most recently, Singapore Life, a digital native insurance firm launched an AI-powered chatbot, the SingLife Chatbot.

The company uses predictive modeling to avoid confining users to a pre-assigned set of questions and answers. Its chatbot is able to reply to free-form text chat that includes a wide-ranging gamut of words, nuance, sub-text and even emojis and colloquial terms and phrases.

“Having seen a few industry attempts at building a useful insurance bot, we developed one with a very specific purpose. What is the purpose of our chatbot? To answer the simple question of how much life insurance do I need,” Walter de Oude, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Singapore Life told Tech Wire Asia.

Other insurers in the region are also doing great with their AI solutions.

Just last month in Taiwan, for example, Allianz Taiwan Life and IBM Taiwan launched the country’s first AI-powered customer assistant.

Allie, its chatbot, serves online customers by identifying policyholders, responding to questions and requests, making timely policy changes, and allowing cross-platform operations.

However, after a while, it may seem like all Asian insurers are parking all their investments in chatbots. Fortunately, there’s more to the story.

Take Ping An, for example. The Chinese giant most famous for its insurance arm, has made incredible investments in technology, particularly in big data and AI.

According to a recent report by the South China Morning Post (SCMP), the company has around 700 employees working on researching these technologies, in order to increase its business efficiency and cut costs.

“AI-enabled solutions have also been applied in its customer service centre, which receives more than one million calls daily. Bots process some of the customer requests and AI-enabled voice recognition can even gauge the emotional state of the caller. A protocol will be triggered if the machine determines that a calling customer is upset enough,” reveals the SCMP.

In fact, the company’s research has helped it explore the application of AI in music composition.

Ping An is particularly confident about the idea “because music and songs are seen by the insurance conglomerate’s executives as a powerful weapon to boost “user stickiness” among its 400 million plus clients who mostly turn to the group for occasional financial and insurance-related services.”

The company’s experiments are exciting, but it’s in no way alone in its pursuit for AI excellence. The coming months should reveal more solutions that make investing in the right policy easier and more useful.