Gug Kyriacou explains how virtual assistants can help keep information more secure and improve customer experience.
The drive for innovation within the insurance profession is moving quickly. Insurers are investing more to ensure that people are provided with a smooth customer journey and firms are harnessing emerging technologies in an effort to improve processes for both businesses and consumers. With smart technology becoming increasingly prevalent in people's daily lives, insurers have taken this opportunity to utilise technology to develop chat bots and smart assistants, which are able to use intuitive programming and learning capabilities to provide and gather information on customer behaviour; inform and answer questions about insurance policies; and assist people with the claims process.
Insurers are developing cyber security assistants that are able to integrate with virtual assistants, such as Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, to collaborate with connected homes and devices. Cyber security assistants aim to advise and educate the public on a range of cyber security-related topics and are able to answer normal, everyday questions customers may have relating to personal cyber security.
These chat bots and algorithms enable intelligent conversations with humans via text or voice and often function within dedicated messaging apps like WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger. Within the insurance profession, they aim to help improve the customer experience, developing positive relationships and clearing the haze around personal cyber security. Yet research has shown that people's knowledge and understanding of cyber security is not developing as fast as technology is advancing.
NO IDD IN TEAM
The Insurance Distribution Directive (IDD) is due to come into effect in October 2018. This regulation replaces the Insurance Mediation Directive -- put simply, its purpose is to improve the protection of consumers when purchasing insurance products and applies to insurance companies and intermediaries, as well as price comparison sites and aggregators.
The IDD is likely to create problems for insurers that provide cyber security assistants or 'jobs' for smart assistants and those using chat bots or programmes to discuss or sell insurance products.
Utilising new technologies will undoubtedly give insurers access to new audiences and help customers improve their understanding of insurance -- which can only be beneficial to consumers and the industry as a whole. As technology evolves and plays a larger role within the sector, it is vital for the insurance industry to deliver products and services that are enhanced by technology, not determined by it.
Gug Kyriacou is joint managing director of FWD Group