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Standard Bank bolsters chatbot with insurance claims function

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Standard Bank has enabled insurance cover and claims capability via its WhatsApp-based chatbot, the big-four bank announced today.

This, as the bank reveals the chatbot has garnered interactions with some 300 000 South Africans since its launch last April.

In a statement, Standard Bank says around 3 000 claims have already been submitted via the chatbot since the capability was enabled a month ago, with claims ranging from death, disability and retrenchment.

The chat interface allows users to access information around insurance and quotes, and view insurance premiums.

“If you are looking for information around COVID-19, it’s still there for you but now, anyone can access the bot for a quick insurance quote; for example, to ensure they are covered in the event of a loss,” says Deepesh Thomas, head of the innovation centre of excellence at Standard Bank.

“We’ve taken the hassle out of the claims process so that it’s one less thing to worry about.”

According to Standard Bank, the chatbot was initially introduced to keep customers up-to-date with its services, debt relief offerings and other important information relevant during the COVID-19 period.

However, over the past year, the bank says it has evolved to allow customers to access product information, request call-backs, conduct digital banking and release overseas funds.

Additionally, users can read latest news items, check the status of other digital banking platforms and provide feedback on the spot.

Thomas notes the feedback provided informs which features are added to the bot next. “For example, many people have asked for tools and calculators to calculate their estimated premiums when taking a product, which we have now included.”

Standard Bank is also integrating its LookSee home loans tool into the chatbot, which will incorporate a bond calculator, and the ability to compare purchase prices of an area with a call-back function.

Rather than going to a branch to submit a funeral claim, which many people do, users can submit on their phones and on a familiar platform, adds Thomas.

“WhatsApp is a digital platform that most South Africans are familiar with; it’s convenient and easy to understand and consumes less data than content-rich websites. In everything we do, we are cognisant of data and how it is consumed. This means that the chatbot is bringing wider accessibility to relevant banking tools as it reduces some of the barriers to entry.”

Standard Bank indicates it is working on more features to incorporate airtime, data, electricity and vouchers.

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