Artificial Intelligence

How smart bots and self-learning mechanisms will shape the customer relationship in the insurance industry

Digitalization & innovation, 16.07.2018

In this second article of the Tech Trend Radar series, we will talk about Artificial Intelligence, specifically Smart Bots, Conversational Interfaces and Natural Language Processing (NLP), and feature our ERGO projects on this topic. 

The interest in artificial intelligence (AI) is growing rapidly. Creating systems that learn, adapt and act autonomously will be a major topic for companies in the next years. In the future, more and more applications and services will incorporate AI, and the technology can give rise to a wide range of implementations:

Smart Bots

Smart Bots are programmes that are capable of conversation-like interactions with the users. They act autonomously and learn continuously from the received data. In order to exploit the full potential of this technology, these bots integrate and develop smart techniques like natural language processing and conversational interfaces.

Alexa Skills

For a few years now, companies are experimenting with this simulation of human conversations and chats through artificial intelligence via voice. The digital exchange between human and machine is called conversational interface.

The D.A.S. UK Group has become the world’s first legal expenses insurer to implement that technology trend with their launch of an innovative Alexa skill for the Amazon Echo. This new skill will provide a Q&A structure that is regularly updated throughout the year with new additional content based on popular legal themes and emerging trends such as cyber insurance.

Read more:

Legal issues? DAS UK provides Alexa users with answers

The technology of Amazon’s cloud based voice service is also used by HDFC ERGO in India to create a chatbot called ‘DIA’. This new platform will provide an easy access for the customers to find information about their insurance policies. They simply have to activate the skill via voice and use the command “Please send me a copy of my policy" and ‘DIA’ will directly provide them with the relevant data. The customers can also easily locate the nearest network hospital or HDFC ERGO branches, as well as understanding the products offered by HDFC ERGO and getting answers to various queries related to general insurance. The same services are also available at Google’s intelligent voice assistant ‘Google Home’.

Read more:

So far, these conventional Smart Bot skills are very standardised. To make the Q&A structure more flexible and personalised, another close related AI-trend is being tested and implemented – Natural Language Processing (NLP). This technology can ease the human-computer interaction and leads to machines understanding and acting on natural-language content.


Since 2017, the ERGO Digital Lab is in cooperation with Rasa to create a Chatbot which suggests response options to the ERGO Direkt customer services department. The response options are developed based on the analysis of most common use cases and historical chat data. The most suitable answer will then be manually selected by the customer services and sent to the customers, which is a hybrid solution at this stage. Since the launch of the Chatbot, the quality of the it was noticeably improved and the  the current recognition rate of user intentions is improved to 82%.

The AI is then be further trained based on the chosen answers. The ultimate goal is to finalise the bot, while the customers will be able to receive support directly from the bot after they submit inquires, without any human contact. To achieve this, ERGO Direkt uses the technology of natural language understanding for processing the customers questions and recognising the intention behind them. Therefore, the human resources of customer services would be better utilised by focusing on handling complicated/ extensive inquiries closely. The technology also provides an incessantly support throughout day and night.

If you want to know more about the megatrends of the Tech Trend Radar and the technologies behind them, we invite you to read about the article ‘The connected world’.

Authors: Vincent Lauterfeld und Eva Fung

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