Prudential's (AI)ms to support its workforce

| 22 Jun 2018

"Digital technology has always been an enabler to support our business processes and customer engagement functions," Prudential Corporation Asia chief executive Nic Nicandrou said. "We are investing GBP300m annually in technology across Asia over the next three years as we further digitise our business across the entire customer life cycle, from acquisition and on-boarding, to servicing and claims payment."

To provide a more seamless experience for its customers, the insurer has tapped AI heavily for solutions, such as an upcoming initiative to allow customers to submit their medical invoices while ‘the AI will scan them and look for words that identify the treatments they have had, examine the costs and compare the information against our database, allowing [Prudential] to settle their claims within a day’.

“Across the region, around 60% of all our new business is submitted electronically and 51% auto-underwritten. In China, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Indonesia, we are able to process new business cases straight through and issue e-policies within two hours, if not in minutes. In Singapore, with the launch of our fourth-generation point-of-sale system, we can generate quotations in seconds. Chatbots to handle customer and agent queries are also now being used in four of our markets – Hong Kong, China, Singapore and Vietnam,” he added.


Mr Nicandrou also emphasised that the company’s investment in technology has not led to neglect of its agency force, who he noted “have become more productive with the use of digital tools”. “In China, our mobile policy application process has reduced customer on-boarding time from five days to 30 minutes, and we also saw an increase in our agency productivity by 17% last year. Our ‘askPRU’ chatbot in Singapore, which provides our agents with real-time information specific to their customers’ life insurance plans, handles over 80% of agent queries, and this has helped drive their efficiency,” he said.

He added, “We continue to leverage digital technology as we go one step further to ensure we are fully attuned to our customers’ needs. For example, our mobile sales platform used by our agents in Hong Kong has an AI-driven capability called ‘Next Best Offer’ that can identify gaps in a customer’s coverage. It’s the first of its kind in the market and can instantly generate tailored recommendations to ensure a customer’s protection coverage is sufficient, as well as offer promotions specific to their needs.”

Meanwhile in Indonesia, agents are equipped with an all-in-one marketing and activity tool that streamlines their activities. Called PRUForce, Mr Nicandrou said the tool provides interactive online training for agents on the go, and allows them to access critical information such as commission estimates, product summaries and corporate information quickly and accurately. “PRUForce has the capacity to support the thousands of agents we recruit in Indonesia every month, reduce their onboarding time from around 20 to just two days, as well as strengthen the productivity of our overall agency workforce,” he noted.