Smart Conversations: The Impact of Chatbots in Insurance with Meredith Barnes-Cook of Resource Pro

with Meredith Barnes-Cook | Apr 23, 2024

About This Episode

In today’s episode, Meredith Barnes-Cook, Partner at Resource Pro joins host Rob Savitsky to discuss the state of chatbots in P&C insurance.

Given the rise of generative AI, how are today’s bots different from those of the prior generation? What are the biggest opportunities for insurers to leverage them across their operations? How will they impact the day-to-day life of the individual claim adjustor or underwriter?

Recorded during a networking break at the Insurtech NY 2024 Spring conference, listen in for a quick hitting discussion.

Learn more about Resource Pro by visiting resourcepro.com and connect with Meredith on LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/meredithbarnes-cook

Check out all our other episodes and follow, rate and review Conversations on the Creek on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and by visiting duckcreek.com/podcasts..

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00:02 Rob Savitsky:

Welcome back to another episode of Conversations on the Creek. The Duck Creek podcast where we interview thought leaders about how the latest InsurTech is transforming the P&C insurance industry. Whether you work in underwriting sales and marketing claims or an insurance IT department, in each episode, we uncover the insights you need to reimagine the future of insurance. I’m Rob Savitsky.

In today’s episode, I’m excited to welcome Meredith Barnes-Cook, partner at Resource Pro to share her perspective on how carriers are leveraging chatbots across various insurance use cases. Resource Pro is an insurance-focused business solutions company that provides business process management, strategic advisory services, management and organic growth consulting, training and compliance solutions.

For this episode, I actually caught up briefly with Meredith at the Insurtech NY 2024 Spring Conference. Take a listen as she shares some valuable insights about how AI and chatbots have evolved in the possibilities for the future. Rob Savitsky. And here for my first interview at Insurtech New York, had the great pleasure of running into Meredith Barnes-Cook from Resource Pro. Meredith, welcome to the first micro podcast of the show.

01:12 Meredith Barnes-Cook:

Thank you. I’m honored.

01:14 Rob:

Awesome to have you here. So you were just moderating a panel on chatbots. Obviously, the theme, the theme of the conference, analytics and AI. Chatbots, something the insurance industry has been talking about for a long time, although there seems to be maybe a reemergence or interest in the topic. And so yeah, to kick it off, can you maybe tell us a little bit, you know, what’s, what’s different now? Why, why now for chatbots?

01:41 Meredith:

The difference now is AI can actually better understand the question, and can also better provide an answer. An accurate answer, a safe answer, and an answer in a tone and a language that is human or human-like, versus a static script.

02:03 Rob:

Awesome. Yeah, definitely a lot of improvement. I think you’re making the point on the panel around quality and deployment and the importance for that for insurers when, as they think about chatbots. I guess, as you, as you look back or think back to this conversation you had an hour or two ago, what would you say was one of the big takeaways from the conversation?

02:24 Meredith:

For me, the big takeaway is, it always comes down to people. You’re thinking about the experience that is you want to provide to people, customers, or agents, brokers, vendors, whomever your indirect claimants, whoever you’re interacting with.

It’s also looking at how you’re augmenting, not replacing, how as a carrier, how your people are being leveraged? And how people within a carrier, within an agency, within a broker, are the subject matter experts to tell you the best pain points to be solved first. And the most effective way to do it, how to replicate a human with the input of a human.

03:05 Rob:

Nice. Yeah, and I think I can’t remember exactly who was on the panels, but making the point of really getting your, your frontline people, your claims adjusters, whoever they are to go out and test, you know, the solution that they’re looking to put into place, if they’re going with something that’s coming from a vendor, and really making sure that they’ve vetted it out and that it works.

But also keep in mind that you’re going to be iterating a lot, especially in the early days as you, as you deploy it. I guess, across the insurance lifecycle in the carriers that you’re speaking with, obviously, you have a lot of contact with carriers from across the industry. What, what use cases are you seeing them gravitate towards and wanting to deploy chatbots in 2024?

03:47 Meredith:

I think it’s the ones where it’s a predictable interaction. So automation knows what to do, it can be trained and know what to do. It needs to be fast. And it needs to offer the customer the choice that a customer may want to call in to report a less complicated, less significant loss. But they may want the option to do it digitally. And that’s where I think it really comes down to, is automation is another option and picking the right experiences to make that available.

So it could be a policy change. It’s really a lot of I would say, like the unsexy and unsparkly things. I’m not sure if there’s anything sexy in insurance per se, and I say that loving the industry. But I think it’s the things that I want this to be quick and easy.

When is my next payment due? Can I change the account that you’re taking my premium check from? Can I get an update on when my claim is going to be paid? What’s the next step and when. Can I update an address? Can I add a driver? Can I remove a driver? It’s all the small blocks and tacklings, where someone wants to be just taking a break after lunch and be able to pull out their phone, do it, and have it done.

05:01 Rob:

That makes sense. It’s the, it’s the use cases. You know that you, you don’t necessarily need or want to talk to a human.

05:09 Meredith:

And it’s also the other piece we talked to. A few years ago, we were all about the Amazon effect. And what I tried to challenge companies say is, what is the Amazon effect? The Amazon effect is it’s consistent, it’s easy, and it’s proactive. You always know at the end of a transaction, at Amazon and other great retailers, what just happened, what happens next, when– Is there anything else you need for me, and you’re done. Bite sized pieces.

With an Amazon experience or other good retailers, I don’t want to be biased here, you get purchase made, shipped, delivery estimate, delivery coming today, delivery done. That’s carriers to look at all these interactions that they have, and say, are you missing the opportunity to offer information out? I’ve worked with clients where they just automated a claim status update, or a request for additional information that was needed to process a policy, process a claim, they dramatically reduced their call volume. And they were— Why did they introduce that call volume of having to make calls or get calls? Because they were offering an automated experience which is what the customer wanted.

06:21 Rob:

Now, that’s a great point, I think, you know, a lot of what you’re saying is tying the Chatbot into other forms of communication so that you don’t just have that one off experience. But in the follow up, you’re getting reminded about what just happened, what could happen. And so that you’re you’re less likely to want to have to come back and contact the customer service. Rep. I

06:40 Meredith:

Agree. And the other piece is you think about the best like telephonic service experience you have one of the nice things is, is there anything else I can help you with while you’re here? Think about that in a chat bot experience I’ve just finished paying for my insurance. Um, a customer asked me that question. Is there anything else I can help you with? You know, if I have a claim, you should know I have a claim, and say, would you like an update on your claim? Or, you know, do you want to talk about other coverages or those types of things? Don’t miss that opportunity because that could add a service opportunity. It can reduce effort. It could even be a cross sell moment, you never know, if you don’t ask.

07:20 Rob:

Yeah, that’s a great point, too. And I think part of it is also with how you’re deploying your bot. I think that, you know, some of the failures of point solutions is a lack of integration into other parts of the omnichannel. And so I think carriers really need to be asking themselves, are you making it easy and simple to go from the chat, not just to a human-based chat, but to a phone conversation, or a video or screenshare, or whatever have you.

07:46 Meredith:

And one of the panelists, Jerry [inaudible] talked about thinking beyond chat as the user experience. Chat is just one UI. Just one, think about texting. Think about WhatsApp, you know, think about the other ways where you’re meeting the customer where they are, which today might be on your website and chat’s a great opportunity. But tomorrow, WhatsApp might be the best option to me, and I really want to finish that conversation through text messaging. And are you, are you prepared to follow them wherever the customer wants to go?

08:20 Rob:

Absolutely. Well, great, great points. Well, I know you probably have another networking meeting to get to, and it was great running into you. Is there anything else you’d like to add before we wrap it up here?

08:30 Meredith:

I think just remembering automation technology AI is all about people. It’s about people, for people and by people.

08:37 Rob:

Awesome stuff. Thanks for coming on the show.

08:40 Meredith:

Thank you so much.

08:43 Rob:

Thank you all for listening today. To learn more about Resource Pro visit resourcepro.com or connect with Meredith on LinkedIn. I’ll put a link to her profile in the show notes. Finally, if you enjoy this podcast, be sure to check out all of our other episodes, follow us on Apple podcasts and Spotify or visit https://www.duckcreek.com/podcasts. I’m Rob Savitsky. And we’ll see you in the next episode.

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