Chatbots with Blockchain – Plumbing or Showerheads?

Shopping for insurance or filing a claim can be arduous. But not so, when chatbots with conversational interfaces, mimic humans and respond with accuracy, speed and personality. PolicyPal is a Singapore based digital platform that launched a chatbot to allow customers to buy and manage policies conveniently. The bot took in-depth training on 9000 policies, enabling it to answer customer’s queries with impressive precision.

Earlier, carriers piloted voice assistants. Liberty Mutual’s Safeco was first to get Alexa to offer connections to local agents. Allstate included the ability to retrieve next bills. Progressive was a first with Google Assistant voice app offering tips on buying. Nationwide gave away a million Echo Auto devices to new and existing customers while promoting its upgraded Alexa skill that featured calling roadside assistance. None, however, included outright purchase.

In an earlier post, Efi Pylarinou mentions, “As long as incumbent(s) .. refuse to change the plumbing and keep adding new showerheads with amazing capabilities like regulating water temperature and playing music or recording your thoughts in the shower, they will never be able to unlock the full potential..”

What follows are two examples, one an AI based insurtech and the other a digital life insurer, both of who have attempted the plumbing.

  • Vaiot developed bots powered by blockchain to sell insurance contracts. Using a leading AI platform integrated with Cosmos blockchain, it provides end-to-end sales for insurance. Customers use voice/text on mobile apps, answer questions and are offered suitable insurance options. Once signed, the contract is stored on Cosmos as a smart contract. An AI layer monitors the deal and coverage kicks in once payment is done. Vaiot recently raised $5.9 million, offering 30% of its VAI token.

  • A life insurer in Philippines has adopted a blockchain solution along with an e-wallet to offer low-cost life insurance. Digital first insurers use much automation, but smart contracts take it to another level. “Many insurers are struggling to become digital, constrained by legacy systems. Our tech enables whole life-cycle of insurance transactions, without touching human hands.” says CEO of Galileo, HK based blockchain platform that leverages Quorum, a permissioned enterprise version of Ethereum. Singapore Life in Philippines is the first full customer deployment of Galileo’s blockchain based core insurance platform.

In an earlier article, I had reported that the number of live insurance blockchain applications are in the low numbers. The reality today is that there are a number of insurance blockchain applications in concept and pilot stages, with relatively few being operational. In the next 2–3 years, we can expect to see more join the bandwagon with the promise of DLT trust, transparency and immutability.

As chatbots become more sophisticated, its value when combined with other technologies such as blockchain will continue to grow. Integrated across communication channels, they go beyond sales to service, ensuring claim handlers’ skills are called only where most needed. By reviewing old claims, chatbots learn to differentiate between simple and complex claims and what can be settled automatically or need to be referred. Manual servicing of  customers makes them endure long wait times during peaks, which are  streamlined by bots concurrently answering multiple calls.

Not surprisingly, most advanced chatbot solutions in the above infographic are provided by insurtechs. One reason for this advanced maturity is the target group of millennial and Gen Z segments, who are more open to disruptive innovation.

Increasingly, more consumers prefer chatbots for interactions –  in a survey, 69% respondents said they prefer chatbots for instantaneous responses and service-related inquiries. A quarter said they trust chatbot recommendations for product purchases. Combining the increasing acceptability of bots with efficiencies in blockchain technology is an exciting space to watch, as these gain maturity and deliver on their promise.

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