Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning are two parts of a booming tech industry, with recent advancements making it possible to generate images, articles, and even codes that can be used to make an app, by barely lifting a finger.
This technology isn’t new or something to be afraid of. AI is universal across most industries already. In the international private medical insurance (IPMI) industry, we’re still gathering information on how to use AI and what more we can use it for. It’s new and exciting, and gathering momentum within our sector, but we have a way to go before we develop a complete understanding of its capabilities and potential uses. A simple example of a straightforward form of AI, which a number of websites in all sectors already use, are virtual assistants, like our very own Remi.
In the insurance industry, it’s possible for AI to decide whether some claims are valid within seconds, removing the need for an individual to read through each and every claim form and make that decision. In short, these developments give businesses within our industry the opportunity to both save costs and leave more time to focus on business growth.
Most importantly, these efficiencies aren’t about cutting staff; they’ll ultimately benefit the customer and the experience they receive from those organisations who adopt this technology. Instead of sifting through claims forms, employees would be able to provide a more effective, tailored experience. The end product will be delivered at a quicker pace with improved personalisation, which is increasingly important in the IPMI industry.
There are some customer journeys to optimise in the insurance industry, particularly for medical claims and processes, where AI could allow companies to help customers better. If AI tools can help us to be more efficient in managing non-urgent, less complex situations, our customer teams will have more time to dedicate to those in need.
Take our AXA Global Healthcare virtual assistant, for example. Remi, who is constantly taking on new information through machine learning, helps our customers find what they’re looking for more easily. The seamless navigation is designed to quickly guide users to the most appropriate next step, whether that’s viewing their online account, accessing virtual care services, using the provider finder tool, or connecting them to human advisors where needed.
This technology isn’t new or something to be afraid of
As the process of digitalisation continues to simplify processes in our day-to-day lives, customers are eager to save themselves time spent on the phone or sending an email. Having AI direct customers to telehealth services can help lower barriers to accessing support, like our Mind Health service. For example, the physical barriers to speaking to a psychologist, such as time, travel and privacy, are reduced, and customers can feel most comfortable.
The importance of data
It’s not only customer service, though – AI has practical applications in data analysis too. The IPMI industry, now more than ever, is built on data. The level of data we receive, analyse and use on a daily basis is now quite staggering. This analysis helps us to enhance our proposition, communications and service, but it’s time-consuming – AI can help us with that.
While there are a number of benefits to AI systems, there are also some key considerations to be taken into account. For example, the technology needs to learn before it becomes fully effective, which takes time and can be costly. For risk officers, measuring the worth of AI is a complicated task – will the investment, in terms of both time and money, be worth it in this field? Or could the results backfire?
Risk management is a crucial consideration as AI technologies become more deeply integrated into the IPMI industry. In particular, it’s essential to ensure that accurate, specific and unbiased data is fed into the system for decision-making, and it’s our responsibility as humans to manage this. Take image-generating platforms, for example. Image creation on AI platforms can lead to a lack of visual diversity of people, if the AI has not had enough of a range of images and data to learn from in the first place.
In the global healthcare insurance industry there will always be things that humans can understand, and things machines can’t. For example, cultural differences in the way treatments are provided and recorded in different countries, which can impact a customer’s entire journey, from taking out a policy to seeking treatment to the claims process.
Another potential drawback of using AI in the IPMI industry is the same as a couple of the benefits – data and personalisation. In the insurance industry, companies create a pool of contributions and then individuals are able to make claims from that pool when necessary. AI’s ability to analyse data and improve personalisation starts to take companies away from this core concept.
In the global healthcare insurance industry there will always be things that humans can understand, and things machines can't
On the flip side, increased data collection of health and lifestyle data, like how many steps you take in a day or how many hours of sleep you get at night, can offer more solutions for both customers and insurers. This constant data collection must be managed appropriately to maintain trust and understanding when it comes to the value a customer gets from sharing their data.
The importance of privacy
Knowing that a machine has a significant part to play in your personal life can be off-putting, so it’s essential to get the balance between human and digital right. I for one hope that a balanced approach will present us with a massive opportunity to take a new step forward as an industry.
I expect that further implementation of artificial intelligence will be rapid within the IPMI industry. Insurance firms, many of which are far more traditional than other industries, risk being left behind if organisations don’t engage sooner rather than later.
In other words, you could be outcompeted by those who adopt greater levels of digitisation before you. They’ll end up with a lower cost base, better products options because of their use of data, and be able to provide an overall better customer experience.
Despite this, providing people-centred customer experiences and showing the human side of your business will always be vital, regardless of developing technologies. All in all, a human-digital balance is the key to helping customers feel heard and provided for.