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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.

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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.”

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Millennials turning 40: NOW will you stop targeting them?

It’s one of the most overused terms in youth marketing, and probably the most inaccurate, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK

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One of the most irritating buzzwords embraced by marketers in recent years is the term “millennial”. Most are clueless about its true meaning, and use it as a supposedly cool synonym for “young adults”. The flaw in this targeting – and the word “flaw” here is like calling the Grand Canyon a trench – is that it utterly ignores the meaning of the term. “Millennials” are formally defined as anyone born from 1980 to 2000, meaning they have typically come of age after the dawn of the millennium, or during the 21st century.

Think about that for a moment. Next year, the millennial will be formally defined as anyone aged from 20 to 40. So here you have an entire advertising, marketing and public relations industry hanging onto a cool definition, while in effect arguing that 40-year-olds are youths who want the same thing as newly-minted university graduates or job entrants.

When the communications industry discovers just how embarrassing its glib use of the term really is, it will no doubt pivot – millennial-speak for “changing your business model when it proves to be a disaster, but you still appear to be cool” – to the next big thing in generational theory.

That next big thing is currently Generation Z, or people born after the turn of the century. It’s very convenient to lump them all together and claim they have a different set of values and expectations to those who went before. Allegedly, they are engaged in a quest for experience, compared to millennials – the 19-year-olds and 39-olds alike – supposedly all on a quest for relevance.

In reality, all are part of Generation #, latching onto the latest hashtag trend that sweeps social media, desperate to go viral if they are producers of social content, desperate to have caught onto the trend before their peers.

The irony is that marketers’ quest for cutting edge target markets is, in reality, a hangover from the days when there was no such thing as generational theory, and marketing was all about clearly defined target markets. In the era of big data and mass personalization, that idea seems rather quaint.

Indeed, according to Grant Lapping, managing director of DataCore Media, it no longer matters who brands think their target market is.

“The reason for this is simple: with the technology and data digital marketers have access to today, we no longer need to limit our potential target audience to a set of personas or segments derived through customer research. While this type of customer segmentation was – and remains – important for engagements across traditional above-the-line engagements in mass media, digital marketing gives us the tools we need to target customers on a far more granular and personalised level.

“Where customer research gives us an indication of who the audience is, data can tell us exactly what they want and how they may behave.”

Netflix, he points out, is an example of a company that is changing its industry by avoiding audience segmentation, once the holy grail of entertainment.

In other words, it understands that 20-year-olds and 40-year-olds are very different – but so is everyone in between.

* Arthur Goldstuck is founder of World Wide Worx and editor-in-chief of Gadget.co.za. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram on @art2gee

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Robots coming to IFA

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Robotics is no longer about mechanical humanoids, but rather becoming an interface between man and machine. That is a key message being delivered at next month’s IFA consumer electronics expo in Berlin. An entire hall will be devoted to IFA Next, which will not only offer a look into the future, but also show what form it will take.

The concepts are as varied as the exhibitors themselves. However, there are similarities in the various products, some more human than others, in the fascinating ways in which they establish a link between fun, learning and programming. In many cases, they are aimed at children and young people.

The following will be among the exhibitors making Hall 26 a must-visit:

Leju Robotics (Stand 115) from China is featuring what we all imagine a robot to be. The bipedal Aelos 1s can walk, dance and play football. And in carrying out all these actions it responds to spoken commands. But it also challenges young researchers to apply their creativity in programming it and teaching it new actions. And conversely, it also imparts scholastic knowledge.

Cubroid (Stand 231, KIRIA) from Korea starts off by promoting an independent approach to the way it deals with tasks. Multi-functional cubes, glowing as they play music, or equipped with a tiny rotating motor, join together like Lego pieces. Configuration and programming are thus combined, providing a basic idea of what constitutes artificial intelligence.

Spain is represented by Ebotics (Stand 218). This company is presenting an entire portfolio of building components, including the “Mint” educational program. The modular system explains about modern construction, programming and the entire field of robotics.

Elematec Corporation (Stand 208) from Japan is presenting the two-armed SCARA, which is not intended to deal with any tasks, but in particular to assist people with their work.

Everybot (Stand 231, KIRIA) from Japan approaches the concept of robotics by introducing an autonomous floor-cleaning machine, similar to a robot vacuum cleaner.

And Segway (Stand 222) is using a number of products to explain the modern approach to battery-powered locomotion.

IFA will take place at the Berlin Exhibition Grounds (ExpoCenter City) from 6 to 11 September 2019. For more information, visit www.ifa-berlin.com

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