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How to use AI to automate insurance call centers for claims process automation and more

Automated customer service for insurance companies
Automated customer service for insurance companies

Imagine an AI call center agent that picks up every call on the first ring, identifies the customer by their policy number, answers the majority of their questions, finds information that the customer needs and only transfers to a human agent if there is absolutely no way it can resolve the issue on its own. 

This is not science fiction, it can be your reality now. Here is a video demo of a very basic AI app to illustrate the concept. I built this app in about two hours:

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Insurance is widely considered an “unsexy industry” by the people who work in it. Will adding AI to the mix heal the industry of “unsexiness”? I don’t know. Nor do I, honestly, care. It’s not about the “sexiness” but about the productivity.

McKinsey did some forward thinking and they are sure that by 2030 the majority of the functions of modern-day insurance will be automated. To get there, they suggest that insurance companies start by creating a culture of learning and bringing talent in-house, executing a comprehensive data strategy and developing and executing an overreaching AI strategy.

Problems with Insurance call centers

A recent trend across industries has been to move from in-house call centers to outsource call centers. Insurance industry is not exempt, with many companies considering the move. There are good reasons for this. Maintaining a WFH staff of call center agents turned out to be a more challenging task than maintaining call center agents working from the office. Also, outsourcing a service which can be outsourced lets the company focus on doing the thing it does best.

Outsourcing solves some problems but only passes the buck on others. If you don’t outsource, you have to deal with all the pain of enormous attrition rates, hiring and worker motivation. If you outsource, your outsourcer’s call center is likely still plagued by the same issues, as many of the other call centers:

  • Unmotivated call center agents
  • Low oversight and QA practices
  • Data loss potential

Solving for call center problems with AI

AI will not be the magic pill that solves all call center problems. But it can solve one of the biggest problems - it can take the pressure off of your agents to meet their average handle time targets and it can reduce your average wait times to zero. The impact of such automation can be both in reducing the number of call center staff and associated costs and in enabling the best agents to give your customers their time and undivided attention on those conversations that really need the human touch. The conversations that are run by AI will provide a better level of customer service than human agents were ever able to provide because the AI never has a bad day, headache, screaming kids at home.

This you can solve today. As illustrated in the video demo above, even I, not a software engineer, was able to build an AI app for this purpose. You can take the source code and run your own instance of this application to test, or send the link to this tutorial to one of your organization’s software developers.

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