Member-owned credit union Credit Union Australia (CUA) has partnered with Sydney-based Flamingo AI to conduct a pilot of a new chatbot across its health insurance arm.
The partnership comes after the ASX-listed Flamingo AI last September raised $5.1 million and in December raised a further $10 million to deliver on projects in its pipeline and explore new opportunities for its virtual sales and service assistant, or chatbot, Rosie.
It is Rosie that CUA will be piloting across CUA Health as it aims to assist potential new members in accessing information about its service, taking them from getting a quote through to the point of sale.
Rosie will first undertake a “period of learning” to understand frequently asked questions and their answers, before being launched on the CUA Health website for a three month pilot.
Philip Fraser, CEO of CUA Health, said as consumers become more tech-savvy, an increasing number are coming to prefer the “convenience and accessibility” of a digital sales channel.
“Rosie has the ability to cater directly to this growing market while also supplementing our personalised interactions with members, managing many of the most common health insurance inquiries,” he explained.
“This channel is certainly not a replacement for our human service team; rather, it provides us with a huge opportunity to grow our health member base by lifting the number of quote requests that are followed all the way through to taking out a policy.”
Dr Catriona Wallace, CEO of Flamingo, added, “We are extremely pleased to be working with CUA Health on the deployment of a virtual assistant to support their members purchasing health insurance. We believe that AI and machine learning technology such as Flamingo will be very important to the growth of the health insurance sector.”
The use of chatbots is growing steadily; health insurer NIB last year launched its virtual assistant ‘nibby’, while the Commonwealth Bank in January launched Ceba, a chatbot which it stated can help customers with over 200 banking tasks, such as activating their card, checking their account balance, and making payments.
According to the bank, Ceba can recognise around 60,000 different ways customers ask for the 200 tasks, and “will eventually be able to tell customers what they are spending their money on”.
Looking at health, the partnership between CUA Health and FlamingoAI comes as KPMG Australia today released a report on ‘healthcare reimagined’, exploring how evolving technology and consumer expectations are already shifting and will continue to shift the way healthcare is accessed and delivered.
Among the drivers of change identified in the report are tech improvements, including expanding data; people and needs, including demographic shifts and trends; the idea of the patient as consumer who demands best-in-class service; market forces, with new entrants and incumbents causing disrupting and convergence; costs; and regulatory reform.
Beyond its health insurance arm, CUA has been dipping its toes into the startup and wider tech space for the last few years, linking up with Sydney-founded fintech hub Stone & Chalk as a partner in 2016, running a Sponsored Entrepreneur Program with River City Labs in Brisbane, and partnering with the Brisbane Heat Big Bash League team to launch a virtual reality app.
Startup Daily had a chat to Dan Taylor, GM of Innovation at TAL Insurance about AI and other innovations in the life insurance sector on a recent episode of the Startup Meet Corporate podcast:
Image: Dr Catriona Wallace.