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First NZ insurance policy sold by chatbot

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‘Digital-first’ company Cove Insurance has sold its first policy via a chatbot, an achievement believed to be an industry first for New Zealand.

Cove Insurance CEO Andy Coon insured his 2001 Audi S3 through its Facebook Messenger-based chatbot, with the full process taking just over three minutes to complete.

“This is an immense improvement compared to what most New Zealanders are used to,” said Coon. “However, our goal is to continue using technology to make this process simpler and faster. I believe we can take steps to further streamline this process".

The current process is conducted entirely within Facebook Messenger, with the customer answering a series of questions before being presented with an insurance quote. The policy is then available to buy immediately, with coverage beginning the moment the purchase is finalised.

“Offering a service like this through a chatbot isn’t yet common in New Zealand, but has proved successful in other markets,” said chief product officer Rob Coon. “In saying that, our Facebook Messenger chatbot is simply the first distribution channel for Cove. We will soon be offering other channels, including a simplified web experience.

Cove has followed in the footsteps of large overseas insurers such as Zurich, which trialled its first chatbot ‘Zara’ in the UK with great success, and Co-Op Insurance, whose Facebook Messenger chatbot provides customers with a policy estimate in less than 30 seconds.

Cove is now focused on refining the claims side, and hopes to be able to offer near-instant claims approval later on in the year. Claims can currently be lodged via the company’s 0800 number, or through its online claims form.

“When we were researching what New Zealand consumers wanted in their ideal insurance experience, we found that most consumers had both their best and worst experiences with their insurer during the claims process,” Rob Coon explained. “Therefore we are now focused on making the Cove claims experience as seamless as possible, and we will be developing this further in the coming months.”Cove Insurance is currently in private beta, and will be launching to the general public in the coming months. 

Cove Insurance is currently in private beta, and will be launching to the general public in the coming months.

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