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Robots process SA insurer’s policy claims in 3 minutes

Smart insurtech is enabling policy holders to claim in far less time than before.



1Life, a South African direct life insurer, has announced that the company is able to assess selected funeral policy claims for pay out within only 3-minutes, using an automated technology solution underpinned by Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and Artificial Intelligence (AI).

Anton Keet, Head of Risk Services at 1Life, says: “This innovation comes off the back of the need for the industry to better service the sector in terms of expediating claim turnaround times, removing human error as far as possible and, for us, ensuring that our customers’ interactions with our business are quicker and more convenient – technology is playing a fundamental role here.”

Using robots to drive such tangible business benefits is very much a reality today. In fact, the IT-enabled RPA market has been growing rapidly at 60.5% annually from 2014,  and is expected to reach US$5 billion by 2020.

It is then evident that the potential for robotic and cognitive automation across the insurance value chain is significant. Claims processing is a perfect example given that it is data and document intensive – where lengthy, time-consuming manual processes can be troublesome to both provider and customer, delaying the timely response that customers desire when they file a claim. RPA assists in easily gathering the data from various sources for centralised processing so that claims can be processed much quicker.

“When a claim is requested, the technology triggers a series of events that automatically and simultaneously cross-checks all relevant information to ensure that there are no anomalies and that all information is correct and available,” says Keet. “For example, while one robotic process is checking that all rules were followed (accordingly to what has been set up), another is checking the death certificate against a name and ID number, while API links to specific databases are verifying further information. Once a claim is verified (this happens in 3 minutes or less), the system comes to a conclusion either for immediate payment, or to be referred to a consultant for follow up (where anomalies occur).”

This process ensures that 1Life is eliminating potential errors that arise from manual processing of suchclaims.

1Life is piloting this technology within the funeral insurance space – given the need to fulfil payment as quickly as possible with this kind of event-based insurance. The technology allows 1Life to pay out selected funeral claims in as little as 3 minutes. By eliminating this substantial manual processing by consultants, says 1Life, it is enabling consultants to focus on servicing customers’ immediate needs. 

“We are very proud to bring this offering to market and believe that it will certainly set new benchmarks for the industry,” says Keet. “Such technology – with time and through ongoing machine learning – will give us access to even more granular detail to further enhance the business of long-term insurance and create much more opportunity for speed and efficiency – exactly what our customers are expecting.”