UK startup Peppercorn has confirmed a product launch in the insurance sector with its chatbot assistant driven by conversational AI, using natural language processing to answer common customer queries.
So what's special about Peppercorn's product launch? Well, we've gained some insights into what may drive traction at the crossover of insurance and conversational AI.
The chatbot is mainly designed to interact with the customer while they wait for a human agent to take over the instant messaging interface, but the point is it knows its stuff about insurance and can recommend a more appropriate policy for the customer's requirements. For example, the AI is trained to make preliminary underwriting calculations, so the policy is likely to be approved if applied for.
While banks have already sought to deploy automated chatbots in this area because it frees up customer service teams to concentrate on higher-level queries, these can get pretty complex in insurance.
From the consumer's perspective, there's the prospect of getting answers faster and without being on hold on the phone all day, often through working hours or just before the call centre closes at dinner time.
Peppercorn says one of the main things has been crafting effective natural language algorithms but also keeping adequate control of the company's cost structure. Reining in costs should help reduce end prices, a key draw for legacy insurance firms who need ways to tackle overheads.
For instance, Peppercorn lacks a head office having opted to reduce fixed costs by operating an all-remote workforce. Not only has this allowed it to tap labour pools in every area of the UK, it also isn't limited to its home market and has recruited from abroad.
Peppercorn's chatbot is making its debut as a customer interaction tool on a popular UK insurance comparison website. The company's runway was provided through a £1.8 million seed round of funds supplied by EHE Capital last April, initially aimed at addressing motor insurance customer service as a "managing general agent".
Peppercorn founder and CEO is Nigel Lombard, a 25-year insurance veteran who is based in Cardiff, Wales.
In a press statement emailed to Tech.eu, Lombard said: "Our team has a dynamic blend of insurance and technology expertise and have worked hard to build a unique experience and service. To launch a quality product on a leading price comparison website in such a short space of time is a testament to the team’s commitment to transforming the insurance industry.
"This is a significant milestone for us and we’re just getting started. Our company is committed to refining and evolving Peppercorn’s platform, empowering our customers and improving their experience, one conversation at a time.