Natural language processing
Will natural language processing impact how consumers interact with insurance?

24th August 2017

Understanding human speech is one area in which artificial intelligence (AI) is aiding robots to boost operational efficiency. Natural Language Processing (NLP), the ability of a computer programme to understand human speech as it is spoken, is rapidly advancing towards human parity (Microsoft’s NLP device recently achieved an error rate of just 5.1%), and this is paving the way for certain jobs and services to be boosted by robots and automated devices.

With over 10 million people worldwide now owning Amazon Alexa devices, the use of voice-operated robots is becoming more commonplace. NLP-based devices can improve the speed and efficiency of interactions, creating a more slick, accessible and customer-centric experience.

Improving operational efficiency
NLP enables machines to gather information from the speaker in the same way that humans do: through conversation. However, robots are able to combine further skills with NLP and integrate knowledge learned from customers with big data, to automatically input necessary fields and databases at sub-second speeds.

Voice-automated devices, such as Amazon Alexa, Siri and Google Home, are able to understand and respond to customer queries at the same rate as professional human transcribers. Such machines therefore have the potential to boost the operational efficiency of services such as contact centres, particularly in dealing with routine queries and 'FAQ' scenarios.

Another interesting development is the use of NLP to provide greater customer sentiment insight through call analysis, replacing the traditional approach of surveys to gain customer feedback.

Exploiting new distribution channels
As demand increases to reinvent the insurance shopping experience to be more consumer-focused, moving to NLP-based systems seems the natural next step for insurance retailers.

CDL's pioneering integration of the Strata insurance retail solution with Amazon Alexa marks the first step towards enabling customers to interrogate and amend their insurance policy in a more natural way, using just their voice. The 'always-on' feature of NLP services also enables insurance retailers to provide their customers with a comprehensive and accessible service centre for all of their queries, at any time.

NLP is therefore the latest development in AI impacting how customers interact with insurance, and is offering a route to more accessible, flexible and convenient customer journeys.