Improving Disability Claims Management Using Chatbots

June 26, 2018| By Andre Meyer and Roman Hannig | L/H General Industry | English | Español

The wave of digital technology may feel overwhelming at times but it brings enormous innovative potential. Among insurers there’s a clear trend to use chatbots to further develop digital communication channels.

Chatbots are “digital helpers” that offer users greater utility than pre-defined forms on a website. This robotized software uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) to provide a direct interface with customers. Chatbots also have advantages over traditional customer support; for example, they deal with multiple customers’ questions uniformly in real time. Furthermore, since chatbots are computer programmes, they are easily scalable. Insurers could use them to allow customers to manage their policies and to request services.

While chatbots are not meant to replace people or personal advice, a virtual assistant can help out before directing someone to a real advisor. Chatbots can also extract data from this interaction, and - using a neural network - can analyse, draw conclusions, suggest actions and query details in the context of the fact-based information gathered beforehand.

This semantic and evaluative component means chatbots could be useful in Disability Income (DI) claims.

The main goal in deploying this type of technology would be to improve the process of capturing essential data, thus enhancing claims assessment and management. To some consumers, DI policy conditions and claims processes seem complex and impenetrable. Chatbots can help them navigate through contract terms or update the progress of their claim - taking less time than doing it on their own.


Existing DI claims assessment begins with completed paper or online forms which can be inaccurate. Neural networks enable chatbots to extract more details - such as a description of the claimant’s occupational profile - than standard claims forms using free text. In addition, chatbots can easily identify missing information.

Chatbots could even assist with the medical assessment of DI claims, in a similar way to many AI-powered doctor apps and online services - for example, Ada, Babylon Health or Push Doctor. These services gather a patient’s past medical history, along with his or her current symptoms, and provide a likely diagnosis and advice on treatment options.

Currently in DI claims, relevant clinical information is found in medical reports, but the use of a chatbot dialogue to validate findings is quite conceivable. It’s possible to imagine this also working with medical questions a person is asked when applying for DI cover. Disclosures would prompt the chatbot to ask specific questions about ailments and treatments, a digital approach that renders supplementary medical questionnaires on paper redundant and therefore unnecessary.

Chatbots offer users simplicity and convenience - an advantage that is not currently a strength of the DI claims process, as consumers may know only too well. Other reasons for the increasing popularity of chatbots: they run round the clock, process unlimited requests simultaneously and deliver consistent quality of information.

From an insurance point of view, a chatbot could improve the quality and personalization of processes for collecting relevant information. Having a virtual “contact person” available to the policyholder throughout the contract’s lifetime means any questions about his or her coverage could be handled digitally with fewer delays.

Chatbot technology could benefit insurers, too, by providing clear, comprehensive data on applicants and policyholders, which can positively influence the quality of service the insurers offer. It’s clear that digital communication tools have a role to play in DI claims and can help meet customers’ demands for service. Technology can help build a bond between insurer and customer, and a chatbot can keep open the opportunity for a customer to speak personally to a competent claims specialist.


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