One size really does not fit all, says insurer

Andriana Moskovska

How artificial intelligence can improve the insurance sector in Cambodia by eliminating many humdrum human tasks

Globally, insurance statistics show that the industry has experienced massive improvements over the last decade. Most of these improvements can be associated with higher investment income, better interest rates, and sustainable economic growth.

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In Cambodia, the story is no different as the insurance industry continues to experience massive growth. It also plays a significant role in the country’s economic development. According to the International Monetary Fund, the insurance sector of the Kingdom of Cambodia has contributed more than $24.5 billion to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) over the last decade.

Research shows that monthly premiums in Cambodia start as low as $1 per month, with life and accident insurance available to citizens living on a budget of less than $10 a day. A good example is the insurance company BIMA Cambodia that has more than 500,000 active customers and has paid in excess of $1 million in claims since 2014.


Room for growth


Experts say there is plenty of room for growth. Still, the industry is in demand when it comes to skilled workers in different sectors. That is why researchers are proposing the implementation of artificial intelligence (AI) in Cambodia’s insurance sector.

But what exactly is AI? And why do experts believe that it can bring about a revolution and sustainable growth in the insurance sector?

AI involves a range of techniques used by machines to replicate human intelligence. AI systems can perform specific tasks correctly by interpreting input or generated data, learning from such data, and using the information gathered to make calculated decisions that are correct most of the time. These systems can function on their own without the need for human assistance.

Now that we have a solid grasp of what artificial intelligence is and how it works, it is crucial to draw our attention to some setbacks in the insurance industry globally, and how AI can help solve some of these problems.

Car insurance has risen dramatically as the number of car owners has increased. AFP

Poor data use


The insurance industry has faced one of the toughest challenges recently. Considering it is a data-driven sector, the industry has been criticised because of the poor utilisation of data.

Nowadays, customers are researching and comparing insurance policies on the internet. That is another reason why providing excellent customer service and adjustable insurance policies has become a must.

This is a no brainer because economic instability will always affect the cost of running a business anywhere in the world. A bad economy implies that small businesses will find it difficult to offer health insurance plans to workers, thereby leading to less demand for the insurance companies.

It is not unusual for insurance companies to invest in real estate, dividend stocks and a few other opportunities that are easily affected by slight changes in the economy.

In the case of a bad economy, investment returns are affected, and the only way to make up for that is to prevent clients from filing claims, with the hope of reducing or avoiding payments. On the other hand, a stable economy means higher investment returns for the insurance companies, thereby leading to less strict insurance claims processes.


Negative image risk


Also, an increase in the cost of running a business will inadvertently affect the cost of insurance, which may not sit well with customers. That can lead to a decline in customer acquisition and retention, and may even create a negative image.

According to a survey, 64 percent of consumers are willing to pay more for a service if it will make their experience simpler. These days, customers are looking for adjustable insurance policies, because the old system of one-size-fits-all does not cut it anymore.

Clients are now looking to reduce the time spent on the insurance claims process. They want to access information on the go and also to interact with an insurer conveniently. Insurance companies that can meet users’ demands by providing personalised insurance plans are more likely to succeed.

Artificial intelligence continues to be a force to be reckoned with across various industries around the globe. The insurance sector is a data-driven industry, and cannot afford to miss out on the benefits of AI. It can interpret and recognise data patterns used to predict future occurrences that can be successfully avoided.

Those who smoke pay higher personal health premiums. AFP

Outdated processes


Below are some of the ways AI can benefit the insurance sector.

According to statistics from Forbes, fraudulent claims cost insurance companies around the world billions of dollars every year. Underdeveloped countries such as the Kingdom of Cambodia that have not gone digital in the insurance sector are still leveraging outdated processes to verify claims from customers.

Most of the time, these insurance claims processes require more than one employee and a lot of paperwork. All of this can be quite expensive and time-consuming.

However, the use of AI can help improve the insurance claims process and also reduce the amount of paperwork and questions that customers have to go through. One such technology is chatbot.

Chatbots are machines that use AI technologies such as machine learning and cognitive learning to interact with humans. A chatbot can help to eliminate the cumbersome process involved in verifying a claim. It can conveniently communicate with customers, record damage, verify details of the claim, report the claim and also help conclude whether the request is valid or not.

Reports indicate that companies that have automated their insurance claims process are already experiencing improvements in quality and a significant reduction of time needed for processing.


Monitoring behaviour


Underwriting is one of the major problems that the insurance industry faces globally. In the past, the information provided by applicants was used to create insurance plans that suited each client. However, most applicants end up providing wrong information in an attempt to reduce insurance costs.

In this age of technology, AI can monitor applicants’ behaviour through their social media accounts and other known means. That way, it can conveniently identify patterns and use them to create a personalised plan that not only suits the client but also covers possible areas of risk unknown to the user.

That can go a long way to prevent a client from paying too much for insurance and also protect the insurance companies from overpaying for claims coming from high-risk clients.

Artificial intelligence can assist insurance marketers in locating potential clients online based on their social media activities and online purchase behaviour. Also, when these leads are acquired, AI can help marketers create accurate insurance plans, using details acquired from generated data, without stressing their clients or putting them under pressure. That can increase an insurance company’s revenue.

This has to do with how insurance companies leverage data for improved insights into customer behaviour. In most cases, these AI-powered insurance plans cover most of the clients’ needs, thereby eliminating the need for face-to-face meetings. This is a much more convenient way to create insurance plans because most of the information used will not be coming directly from a client.


Improved experience


Although the insurance sector of Cambodia is steadily improving, concerns remain about the lack of skilled workers that can sustain its growth. In a technology-driven economy such as the one we have today, customer experience is of paramount importance to the growth of any sector.

The one-size-fits-all kind of insurance is not adequate, and that is why developed countries are actively leveraging AI to help understand customer behaviour that can lead to adjustable insurance policies. That explains better why the use of artificial intelligence is a welcome development in Cambodia as it helps make up for the lack of a skilled workforce in this country’s insurance sector. With the help of AI, clients do not just get personalized plans, but also health tips, financial advice and money-saving options.

Andriana Moskovska, besides being a regular contributor to several tech and digital marketing blogs, is SmallBizGenius’ community manager. This article was written in conjunction with

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