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Last Updated : Jan 15, 2018 05:43 PM IST | Source:

Chatbots are taking over basic services in insurance

Mundane jobs like customer servicing, providing quotes and addressing basic grievances can easily be taken care of by AI.

M Saraswathy @maamitalks
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That tiring, irritating wait for a customer service executive to answer your call might finally be over as both life and general insurance companies have now set up chatbots to deal with customer queries.

Birla Sun Life Insurance (BSLI) was among the first insurers to launch a comprehensive chatbot when it did so in March last year. Pankaj Razdan, MD & CEO of the comany, said that the chatbot will help customers get any information related to their policies on the go, obtain quotes and enable quick and personalised response to their life insurance-related queries.

“In time to come, the bot’s simple jargon-free language will answer queries related to customer’s policies, provide recommendations and tailor the right product addressing the customer’s specific needs,” he said.


Customer queries are usually dealt with by a dedicated team of people. And the queries are addressed only within the designated working hours. However, chatbots do not have any such restrictions and work 24/7.

Private life insurer IndiaFirst Life, which launched IRIS (IndiaFirst Responds) in August, has seen a positive response from customers. This chatbot not only helps in service queries but also responds to customer emails.

Mohit Rochlani, Director – Operations & IT, IndiaFirst Life Insurance, said that IRIS is equipped with multiple functionalities such as product descriptions, premium statements and notices, fund value inquiries and application status for customers.

“For customers who are comfortable with this, IRIS will strengthen self-service options for the company’s field sales and customers, reducing dependence on contact centres for basic requests or information, and a modernised process that will enhance the overall customer experience,” Rochlani said.

He explained that going forward, they are looking at introducing technology that will help chatbots interact with customers in different languages, understand their needs and also respond in the same language. Rochlani added that artificial intelligence will assist them in doing this.

Multiple use

IndiaFirst is also using AI for sales persons as well. Through a service called Activefy, the insurer uses technology including geo-tagging to ensure that sales people meet the required number of customers and also are able to turn warm leads into meetings for policy sales.

“Our technology push is to ensure that human biases are minimised. Our product recommendation engine will ensure that customers get the right products on the basis of their needs,” Rochlani said.

This is not restricted to life insurance companies alone. Standalone health insurer Apollo Munich Health Insurance has launched a travel chatbot, ‘Travel Ninja’, that suggests to customers the right travel insurance plan and sum insured, creates a policy proposal for them and gives them a payment link, all in just a couple of minutes.

During the process, Travel Ninja also offers users the option to view details about features and benefits of all available plans. The chatbot has had close to 1,500 interactions in just over a month since its inception, the company said.

Antony Jacob, Chief Executive Officer, Apollo Munich Health Insurance said: “Travel Ninja is designed in a way that will boost our customer service quality by offering both speed and accuracy. Now, if a customer realises they need travel insurance even as they are waiting for their flight at the airport, they will not hesitate before buying a plan, as it would just take them 5 minutes.”

Similarly, ICICI Lombard General Insurance has received positive consumer response to its virtual assistance tools. The company had launched MyRA, a chatbot platform to address customer queries with regard to insurance policy proposals.

This tool offers direct interaction for customers/ insurance agents with a virtual assistance robot to seek faster quotes for policy issuance. It has enabled the company to address customer queries on a real-time basis. Using artificial intelligence, the tool has allowed the company to automate the query management process without the need for human intervention.

MyRA currently addresses products such as two wheeler insurance as well as fire and burglary insurance for small and medium sized enterprises.

With regard to its internal customers, the company launched YAAR (Yammer Automated Answering Robot) a platform similar to MyRA, for the benefit of its employees. This chatbot replies to queries posted by employees regarding travel allowance, group medical insurance, salary and remuneration, income tax and payroll.

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First Published on Jan 15, 2018 05:43 pm
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