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Cove trials insurance purchases via Facebook Messenger chatbot

25 Jun 2018

An Auckland-based insurance firm may be one of the country’s first providers to sell insurance via a chatbot currently in private beta mode, and the tech looks promising.

Cove Insurance CEO Andy Coon used the Facebook Messenger chatbot to insure his car and he says the process took slightly longer than three minutes – but the process can still be streamlined even further.

Cove’s digital-first approach will initially offer the chatbot through Facebook Messenger. It will ask a potential customer a series of questions and present an insurance quote for immediate purchase.

“Offering a service like this through a chatbot isn’t yet common in New Zealand, but has proved successful in other markets,” comments chief product officer Rob Coon.

“In saying that, our Facebook Messenger chatbot is simply the first distribution channel for Cove. We will soon be offering other channels, including a simplified web experience”.

Cove says it wants to offer near-instant claims approval later in the year but in the meantime it is focusing on making the claims experiences ‘seamless’.

University of Auckland bioengineering graduate Dr Ming Cheuk is one of the people who has been working with Cove for the last year.

Cheuk and the team will soon develop intelligent claims approval technology, which will combine artificial intelligence and behavioural sciences to automate the claims process.

“When we were researching what New Zealand consumers wanted in their ideal insurance experience, we found that most consumers had both their best and worst experiences with their insurer during the claims process,” Rob Coon says.

“Therefore, we are now focused on making the Cove claims experience as seamless as possible, and we will be developing this further in the coming months with the plan of making the technology available for Cove customers later in the year.”

Cove is using cloud services from Amazon Web Services to ensure the company can focus more on the development of innovative technology, while benefiting from rapid deployment. Cove has also worked with Spark 64 and API Talent to advise and shape Cove’s cloud infrastructure and security architecture.

“Developing much of our capability with cloud based vendors allows Cove to manage significant infrastructure with a very small team,” explains Cove CTO Peter Reid.

“Infrastructure in code, serverless architecture along with the usage based pricing is ideal for a technology startup. The use of external consultants ensures adherence to best practice and supports our ‘right first time’ philosophy”.

Cove will launch to the general public in the coming months.

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