06 Mar 2018

How Smart Speakers May Revolutionize P&C Insurance Service

By: John Baker

How Smart Speakers May Revolutionize P&C Insurance Service

Could you be using smart speakers to expand and improve the service you provide to customers? According to Andrew Lo in an article at Insurance Thought Leadership, yes you could – and indeed, you should.

In fact, insurers in Canada have been doing just this since last summer. For example, Aviva Canada configured the Amazon Echo to answer common insurance questions and provide customers with quotes. Manulife likewise added a skill to Echo that tells customers how much coverage they have left to spend on their health benefits.

Meanwhile, Kanetix.ca and Insurance Hotline.com are using Google Assistant to help drivers compare auto insurance quotes, and RateSupermarket.ca has a Google Assistant action that can point homebuyers to the best mortgage rate in any province.

It’s something of a brilliant idea. Using the same approach, insurers here in America could program the same home assistants to tell users about their own services in response to common questions. Lo gave a few examples: "Alexa, what is accident benefits coverage?" or "Hey Google, ask Kanetix.ca for a car insurance quote." In essence you’re turning smart speakers into onsite customer service reps.

The logistics

Perhaps you're wondering how you would achieve this goal. The answer is not hard to find. Tom Hudson, Technical Director at thirteen23, a strategic design consultancy and product incubator, provided a tutorial at Smashing Magazine last May, in which he lays out the steps of the process for teaching home assistants new skills and actions. For Echo, one would use a "barebones web form" that Amazon provides for that purpose. For a Google assistant, one would use its API.AI platform.

The potential

But just how popular are smart speakers? Considering where they are in consumer adoption, is there an ROI case to be made for adding skills and actions to these devices?

Here again, the answer is yes, there is. According to a report by Canalys, smart speakers are the fastest-growing consumer tech on the market, with shipments predicted to surpass 50 million this year.

"The adoption, sales and marketing of both Amazon and Google smart speaker assistants is clearly making this device a must-have in the home," Lo said. "Insurance providers cannot ignore this opportunity to develop smarter, more convenient ways to serve their customers."

In fact, because the devices are so popular, Amazon and Google have been facing off in a price-point duel, bringing their smallest smart speakers – the Echo Dot and the Mini, respectively – down to a starting cost as low as $39.99.

The policy administration piece

Of course, to provide quotes to customers in their homes, an agile policy administration system with direct-to-consumer sales capability is a must. We can help with that. Request a demo to learn more.

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