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AI to boost HK insurance company’s performance

According to a recent report, one of Hong Kong’s top insurance companies is making artificial intelligence (AI) a key part of its five-year strategy, using the technology on two fronts: automating specific tasks and as a bot used to help employees augment their intelligence in performing technical jobs.

It was noted that the company is committed to deliver personalized customer service to the next level.

Reportedly, the company began exploring AI in the first half of 2018. It’s data team from the marketing department started building its first AI engine called “Next Big Offer”, which recommends the best protection for customers by matching the similarity between the purchase behaviour of each individual and appropriate product features.

By taking the financial consultants’ feedback into account, the A.I. Machine Learning technique can fully perform smart learning to improve the forecast accuracy.

The Managing Director of the firm noted that the company is now AI to help calculate the next best offer, predict what is the next best offer and also predict when is the best time [to sell the offer].

To develop this AI engine, the company relied on its long-term technology partner, which provided the insurance company’s CRM platform. The company implemented the partner’s Sales Cloud in 2014, the Services Cloud in 2016 and the Marketing Cloud in 2018.

The company needed a CRM platform that would enable them to have a 360-degree-view of customers across all business lines and across all touchpoints from distributors, call centres, social media platforms and websites. The partner company was able to provide this technology.

The Managing Director noted that the partner has an ecosystem that is enhanced every year with new solutions; 2019 is seeing the insurance firm implementing a powerful solution that leverages an integration engine that enables the firm to obtain the data from all its backend systems and feed them to the AI engine.

So, when these data from legacy systems are combined with the CRM data that reside in the cloud, the company is able to deliver optimal insurance offerings to customers.

The insurance group rolled out its first AI engine in distribution and sales in July 2018 to more than 5,000 financial consultants, and before the roll out, the firm trained the financial consultants. The training was focused on user scenarios and how the AI-based solution helps them to be more productive and to understand their customer better, noted that Head of Life Projects & Technology at the firm.

Furthermore, a smart sales management platform called Lead Club was developed to offer an optimized matching between customers and financial consultants by using big data analytics. It is envisioned to increase sales opportunities and to ensure customers’ needs are best served by the most relevant financial consultant.

The AI engine gets smarter as the machine learns over time.

The group’s foray into AI is still at a very early stage and the Managing Director noted that the firm is “still learning by doing it”.

The Managing Director noted that using the technology to augment intelligence of people handling technical jobs is next in the firm’s AI pipeline. The company is hoping to extend this capability to its team of 20 underwriters by providing them with a personal digital assistant to help them make a decision in complex cases.

The company expects to pilot the personal digital assistant to underwriters in the second half of this year.

Looking forward, the Managing Director noted that one of key messages to note is that as AI is a new resource, it must be managed like a human resource.

He pointed out that AI, based on the data provided to it, could recommend not to underwrite people due to racial consideration. Is this something to consider or not? Is this something people are ready to accept? There might be some recommendations that are not desired from the AI because they are not ethically acceptable.

This is a fundamental fact, the head noted, and it goes beyond technology, but is extremely important.

Now, six months into rolling out Next Big Offer, the group is seeing some benefits.

To date, more than two-thirds of its financial consultants are using the Lead Club, which has significantly improved their closing rate. Their rate of sale from AI-generated leads is higher than their self-generated leads.

Meanwhile, the company is starting to introduce AI into claims management.

The Managing Director noted that the firm is at a very early stage in its AI journey and while the company has not accomplished all it has the potential to with AI, they are committed to learning and making sure they have the controls in place to manage the performance of AI.

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