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Suncorp launches 'intelligent' digital employee

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Suncorp has introduced Ava, an artificial intelligence-powered bot, in a pilot trial with some motor insurance customers of its AAMI brand.

She is currently trained to answer questions relating to policy coverage, price, discounts, excess, optional extras, claims and payment options.

Customers interact directly with Ava via their microphones and cameras while scoping for motor insurance on the AAMI site.

Unlike her more famous peers, Siri and Alexa, Suncorp has designed Ava with a face. She appears online to customers dressed in the AAMI white uniform top and her name tag attached.

EGM Digital Distribution Katherine Carmody told insuranceNEWS.com.au her name was chosen after a shortlist was put through customer testing. She says Ava – short for AAMI Virtual Assistant – tested really well.

It took about four months to develop Ava, she said.

The introduction of Ava underscores the insurer’s stated ambition to step up its use of advanced technologies to improve customer experience.

Ava has been built to have a digital brain packed with a wealth of insurance knowledge to help customers with their various questions.

She has a personality and emotional intelligence as well to help her learn to read the face and tone of customers and she will adjust accordingly to suit the customers.

“Ava is simply another way for customers to engage with us,” Ms Carmody told insuranceNEWS.com.au.

“We know some people want to interact in the digital channel via chatbot or webchat in their research phase, and some would rather pick up the phone and speak with a person.

“Ava is an example of how we are innovating customer service and user experience to ensure we are giving customers what they want.”

She says the insurer has not set an end date for the pilot yet. The business will take an iterative approach and continually optimise Ava as it learns how customers interact with her and vice versa.

“As we get the data, we’ll understand more about the best application for Ava,” Ms Carmody said.