Standard Bank has recently launched short-term insurance chatbot together with new online functionality for wealth clients in a move to becoming the leading integrated financial services organisation in, for and across Africa.
Deepesh Thomas has been appointed as the new Digital Head of Standard Bank Wealth to drive the ongoing digital transformation journey. He joins from Liberty where he was the CEO of Liberty’s Centre of Excellence and was responsible for developing and managing the fast-growing insuretech business unit within Liberty Short-Term. Liberty sold the technology platform which supports its short-term insurance business to Standard Bank in March this year.
“Apart from eliminating duplication of roles, unique digital capabilities can be used in the wider Standard Bank Group, as well as from the broad Liberty broker network,” explains Thomas.
He says Standard Insurance Limited, the wholly owned subsidiary of Standard Bank Group, is on a journey to develop its digital capabilities and this includes leveraging what has already been built for Liberty to ultimately allow for a new channel for customers to access solutions.
“Standard Insurance is enhancing the value of insurance by reducing friction through digitisation by leveraging the cloud and using better personal risk assessment. The end consumer will feel our impact through the solutions we provide in the insurance value chain.”
Chatbot capabilities already engage with customers and perform end-to-end fulfilment on digital channels.
“We have also built a referral portal to allow our advisers to refer their leads to our platform, for fulfilment via our chatbot or the call centre. Since our technology stack is fully integrated with our call centre, our omni-channel capabilities give the customer the ability to switch between engagement channels with ease and low friction,” says Thomas.
The innovations are in full swing and will be rolled out in phases. Call centre quoting and fulfilment and app-based telematics are set for the second quarter of this year. Full digitised quoting, fulfilment and claims are planned for later in the year.
Live data points will be analysed to understand customer behaviour to provide informed insight for improved product development. Telematics, for instance, will gather information regarding customers to allow for better risk management and reward.
It is all about speed and ease of use, with Standard Bank Wealth and Liberty ahead of the competition on many fronts. Through our quick quote capability – clients can get a fully-binding quote in 5 minutes for vehicle, home contents, buildings, all-risk or personal liability insurance products. OCR, or optical character recognition, scanning of license disks and driver’s licenses, meanwhile, eliminates delays and long lists of questions usually asked. Added to this is the digitally signed debit order mandate, policy issuance and emergency SOS service – all with digital fulfilment in 8 minutes.
The technology underpinning these moves is leading edge and enabled the first motor insurance policy sales on Facebook Messenger in the world. The functionality makes it happen in just 8 minutes and the chatbot never sleeps – it is up 24 hours a day.
“Buying a short-term insurance product through our bot within 8 minutes without having to talk to a call centre agent is changing the face of insurance. This would previously have taken around half an hour to achieve and then also during office hours – the “bot” never sleeps and so this functionality is available 24/7. It enhances customer experience by giving them more control,” says Thomas.
There is also no legacy drawback at all as this new functionality was built from scratch and so it was fully built in the Cloud, using Microsoft Azure. “Full cloud deployment removes limitations of infrastructure capacity and performance and going forward we will continue to accelerate innovation and digital delivery through integration with best-of-breed cloud services and API’s,” says Thomas.
New apps and functionality can be seamlessly added on. Online debit order facilitation, for instance, to reduce a clear pain point for most consumers, while digital funeral policy solutions are being planned for the near future. Additional functionality is set to change the shape of international banking.
Standard Wealth has already made immense strides to harness technology to drive more integrated solutions. The My360 app, for instance, provides a global, consolidated view of someone’s entire financial life across more than 20 000 global financial institutions from one touch point. Customers can track and access asset, liability and risk cover regardless of institution, geography or the insurer where accounts reside. The app is currently being piloted to selected clients and will be launched to the market later this year.
“Our technology backbone enables us to build out numerous exciting solutions –we will not stop on our journey of delivering exceptional client experiences,” concludes Thomas.