Can AI redefine interactions between insurers, brokers, and customers?

CEO highlights a problem with online quoting platforms

Can AI redefine interactions between insurers, brokers, and customers?


By Gia Snape

Artificial intelligence is having a moment in the spotlight, as the popularity of tools like ChatGPT encourages insurance companies to incorporate cutting-edge AI in their business.

But can AI aid in transforming interactions between insurers, brokers, and customers? Koïos Intelligence thinks so.

The Canadian start-up, which offers an AI-powered, voice-enabled virtual assistant to help insurance professionals better communicate with customers, recently concluded a $6.5 million financing round.

It’s aiming to take its platform, Olivo, to new markets, including the United States.

“We built a hybrid platform that enabled customers, brokers, and agents to interact in a user-friendly way using voice recognition,” said Mohamed Hanini, President, CEO and CTO of Koïos.

Hanini began his career by studying actuarial science before taking up financial engineering at the University of Montreal, where he started to experiment with machine learning.

“My passion was always around building tools in the financial and insurance industry,” he said.

‘Huge drop rate’ in insurance quoting platforms

Armed with his experience in statistics and quantitative finance, Hanini set out to tackle the biggest pain points around the insurance purchasing process: wait times and product overwhelm.

“We have so many products, and consumers are so busy. Many online platforms also don’t have educational tools to help them better understand insurance,” said Hanini.

“In the last 10 years, companies have invested in speeding up the quoting process. However, we have seen a huge abandonment rate [on quoting platforms]. Customers need to be educated on their insurance before going through any process.”

The CEO noted that insurance customers usually drop out of the online quoting process when they’re asked to input more personal information, such as their credit scores. The sheer volume of products available in the market can also be overwhelming for most consumers.

‘Multimodal’ AI for better communication

Koïos sought to slash waiting times for insurance customers while talking them through the process. It created Olivo to act as a virtual intermediary between the insurance broker and the consumer using natural language processing.

“We usually need to talk to real person to get more information. At any point in the customer journey, our platform enables users to talk to a broker or agent and ask questions in real time,” he said.

Koïos leverages multimodal AI in its platform, a type of artificial intelligence that can process and understand inputs from different modes of communication, such as text, images, and speech.

A cloud-native application, Olivo is also interconnected with leading industry systems such as Applied and the Centre for Study of Insurance Operations (CSIO).

The connectivity enables more streamlined pre-purchase, purchase, and post-purchase processes, according to Koïos.

“The platform is also focused so that each business line is an application in itself, meaning the algorithms are trained on specific data points,” added Hanini.

Could AI chatbots benefit brokers too?

For Hanini, improving the insurance customer journey also means helping brokers and agents focus on what they do best.

“Insurance brokers and agents spend almost two-thirds of their time processing documents. AI can help them focus on their expertise and avoid filling out forms,” he said.

Koïos said its Olivo platform has led to a 30% reduction in administrative costs for brokers and agents, as well as a 30% shorter waiting time for customers than if they had to contact an insurance call center.

As a bonus, Olivo can help brokers with onboarding new employees by providing updates on insurance policies, educating them about new products, and quickly answering customer questions.

What’s next for Koios?

Hanini said Koïos is in a commercialization phase, having started talking to partners in the US last year. Its also expanding its partnership with Applied Systems in the US and Canada.

“We’re starting to finalize the partnership [with Applied] in the US and I think it's going to accelerate our expansion in the US market,” he told Insurance Business.

What are your thoughts on Koios? Let us know in the comments.

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