’Use AI behind the scenes’ to promote a ‘human touch,’ says group chief information officer

The insurance industry is undergoing a technological revolution, with artificial intelligence (AI) leading the charge.

However, as insurers implement AI, they must prioritise customer considerations to ensure a “thoughtful” and beneficial integration.

This was according to Chris Loake, group chief information officer at Hiscox, who spoke during a panel session entitled Tailoring insurance for the modern consumer at the MoneyNext conference yesterday (20 June 2024).

He explained: “We are in a technology revolution with artificial intelligence being the latest wave. However, with all waves of technology, there is always a huge amount of hype around it.”

He told delegates that while AI has benefits, such as processing data faster than a human, it can still cause errors.

He referred to the DPD incident that took place earlier this year (19 January 2024) where the parcel delivery firm’s AI chatbot behaved unexpectedly, including swearing and criticising the company.

He explained: “What we do not want is to have the high-profile screw ups we have all seen in the news happen to us.

”Hiscox believes in using AI to supercharge humans where we can, giving AI tasks to process things faster, such as the claims process, but insurance firms should not be too clever and lose sight of getting the basic elements right, such as being thoughtful of the customer.

“AI also does not have empathy and when customers need insurance the most it is a highly emotional time for them – and that is when empathy is needed. Use AI behind the scenes.”

Human touch

David Bourdillion, head of consumer design at Esure, echoed Loake’s sentiments. He noted that the implementation of AI in the customer service space “supports more of a human touch, not less”.

He explained: “There is a huge opportunity to use AI and give more time for people to be human. I see it as a massive opportunity for more humanity, [rather] than less.”

Ed Naish, chief commercial officer at By Miles, also noted that the use of AI can allow more room for that human touch by utilising data to allow customers to access the service they need as “fast as possible.”

He continued: “It is about getting those emotional conversations right and getting that human touch to those people as fast as possible – using AI and data to inform insurers of that customer’s specific preferences so we can direct them to the right channel for them at that time in those circumstances.”