AI could lead to new sales channels: Deloitte Insurtech Summit

The CEO of Kiite explains how voice interfaces could change the way we buy insurance

People often think of artificial intelligence as a tool that can be used to automate workflows. But advances in AI—and natural-language processing (NLP) specifically—could lead to new sales channels for the insurance industry, according to Joseph Fung, CEO of Kiite.

Related: Using data to influence behaviour: Deloitte Insurtech Summit

“If you take a step back and look at some of the broader trends around a move towards more conversational interfaces, a move towards off-the-shelf NLP protocols being available, and even the move towards tighter integration with smart home devices where you can say ‘Hey Siri, go buy something’ or it gets to the point where you can say ‘Google, renew my insurance’—all of these technologies aren’t about big data analyses, but a new channel of customer acquisition,” Fung said at the 2018 Deloitte Insurtech Summit in Toronto on Wednesday.

Related: ‘‘Hey Google, get me a car insurance quote.”

Although we have yet to reach a point where smart home technology can bind or renew an insurance policy, significant strides have been made. Kanetix.ca now offers car insurance quotes through Google Home devices, and Aviva Canada has released a skill on Amazon Alexa that explains insurance terminology and allows Ontario drivers to obtain car insurance quotes.

AI won’t necessarily replace current sales channels, Fung said, but it could provide a new avenue for consumers to shop for insurance.

“Much like how we saw a huge shift with how consumers moved to online acquisition, it didn’t mean that everybody moved solely to online,” he said. “AI-driven, conversational-driven [interfaces] will be another sales channel with dramatically different unit economics, which means we’ll need different products and different support mechanisms based on those channels.”

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