ERV Skill: Gimmick or future?

One of the first insurance on the German market bookable entirely by way of virtual assistance

Digitalization & innovation, 25.10.2018

Today is the day! We have officially launched our ERV Skill. In the past, the topic of voice control via Alexa & co. has often been mentioned in my blog. As far as our customers, sales partners and staff are concerned, the importance of this technology will continue to grow, since it truly simplifies everyday life.

Judith Storm, innovation manager at ERGO,  introduces the new ERV Skill.     Foto: Sascha Schulz

As of today, you can take out your medical travel insurance via Alexa using voice control, from researching information to completing the process – and without having to print out and sign a document afterwards. All this requires are an Amazon account with the necessary details and a possibility to pay using AmazonPay.

The communication process could be shorter – and one is aware that lawyers have also played a part in this Skill. For instance, as a final step, I must again submit an order acknowledging the obligation to pay. This involves giving explicit voice confirmation to Alexa once more by saying "Order with obligation to pay." Additionally, Alexa-Users can generally secure the voice shopping with an optional voice-PIN. But ultimately, the insurance is booked entirely via voice recognition. This makes me feel proud. Not only because we´re the first in Germany to offer this Skill, but also the speed with which we at ERGO have realised the project. All in all, a perfect achievement of which the team is and also should be proud.

Will lots of potential customers now be immediately taking out their medical travel insurances via Alexa? Probably not. On the one hand, penetration of this Alexa-Amazon service is still limited and on the other hand, we won´t be promoting this service on a very wide scale. Even the number of customers who could theoretically make use of it will therefore be restricted. It will be mainly the innovators who have an Amazon Echo at home and have heard that you can take out an ERV medical travel insurance, who will do this, i.e. an initially limited group of customers. So is it just a gimmick? Quite clearly, no. The future belongs to voice control.

Perhaps not in the way we use it today. But in a more simple form, whereby the voice is the password and not the optional voice-PIN. Whereby on the way to the airport, I can still take out a medical travel insurance via voice recognition using the interface in the car. Still sounds a long way off? Who would have thought in 1994 that we would order our books and much more online. The important thing is to become involved at an early stage and to learn. To learn how customers behave. To understand what they want – and exactly how the Skills should be designed.

There will still be lots of changes along the way. I´m looking forward to such progress. We at ERGO are at the cutting edge.

I´d be delighted to receive any comments, questions or suggestions.
Yours, Mark Klein

Author: Mark Klein

Mark Klein is Chief Digital Officer ERGO Group and Chairman of the Board of Management of ERGO Digital Ventures AG. Here you find Mark Klein on LinkedIn.
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