5 Insurance Automation Ideas for Open Enrollment

Set up an automated insurance prospecting system in less than a month

Picture two rival health insurance providers with similar policies. There’s only one difference between them. When open enrollment season comes around, the first trots out the same old enrollment game plan: recruitment teams making cold calls, educational events, a website for prospects to register interest, and a limited post-enrollment plan. The other embraces and deploys new AI-powered software to automate outreach, appointment reminders and onboarding on an enterprise-scale, with scalable customer retention capabilities baked in.

At the traditional firm, agent teams spend most of their time on administrative tasks and chasing prospective customers. Everything is a struggle, even getting prospects to show up for calls they scheduled.

At the firm using insurance sales automation, it’s a whole different story. Agents aren’t wasting time touching base, sending reminders, doing data entry. They’re doing what they do best: seeing the big picture and signing up new members. In fact, they’re:

Improving close rates by
41%

Cutting quote processing times by
99%

Those aren’t fictional numbers. Insurance agency automation systems are the real deal--light-years more advanced than the barebones expert systems of yesteryear. They’re highly customizable AI-powered workflow automation platforms that integrate with a firm’s other customer systems (e.g. CRM, service desk) while maintaining security and compliance.

Today, we’ll walk through five insurance automation ideas for getting an insurance prospecting system—fully equipped to handle the pandemonium of open enrollment season—up and running in less than a month.

We recommend starting with 5 key insurance automations:

  1. SMS Automation
  2. Low/no-code Virtual Agents
  3. Automated Inbound and Outbound Requests
  4. Email-to-Quote Automation
  5. AI-Driven Recurring Campaigns

We recommend these five insurance automation ideas to start because most focus on mobile engagement. Your prospects are already on their phones. Meet them there! You’ll see better engagement rates using the channels your customers prefer.

Additionally, cloud-based insurance sales automation platforms (like Ushur) are driven by quick development cycles. Automation is no longer an arduous, multiyear, big budget initiative. Born-in-the-cloud companies pass that iterative, fast-moving advantage back to you.

1. SMS Automation

We know you can’t sell health care over SMS. Hear us out.

Due to heavy government regulation and the difficulty many health insurance prospects have comparing plans online, most firms still reach out to prospects over the phone.

But customers much prefer the convenience of digital channels, and your firm can use SMS automation as a supporting, auxiliary medium. For example, it can send health insurance prospects SMS reminders about an upcoming call—and give them the option to reschedule if needed—to improve appointment attendance.

This relatively simple form of automation can improve results across a firm’s prospects because it reaches even those without smartphones. For those who do have smartphones, the opportunities for engagement are even more diverse and media-rich.

2. Low/No-code Virtual Agents

Your prospects might want to engage with you digitally, on their phones, but no one wants to install another app. Not convinced? One insurer we work with saw a download rate of just 2% of their mobile app among members and a usage rate of 3%. Low/no-code virtual agents are the perfect solution here.

When we say “virtual agent” we’re referring to a conversational interface accessed through a mobile device. Basically, prospects engage with a virtual customer service agent in an app-like experience.

A firm might use virtual agents to send health insurance prospects a pre-appointment checklist reminding them of everything they’ll need for the call (social security card, current set of prescriptions, doctor’s contact info, etc).

The trick with virtual agents is getting them to do what they need to. That’s where coding comes in. Normally virtual agents need to be programmed by someone who knows their Java from their Python. But a new breed of low- and no-code platforms have ushered in the era of the “citizen developer,” allowing business teams without any formal coding knowledge to construct sophisticated, AI-powered workflows.

Using these low/no-code virtual agents, prospects can schedule calls, browse plans and check the status of a quote—all tasks that previously agents would have needed to handle. And since these prospecting platforms work just as well on mobile devices as they do on desktop, customers can take a picture of a signed form and seamlessly upload it to their application.

Because the low-code UI is designed for agents, not engineers, firms can spin up open enrollment “special agents” in a matter of days, without waiting on IT.

3. Automated Inbound and Outbound Requests

Choosing a healthcare plan can be stressful and confusing, and people under stress ask a lot of questions. It’s human nature. But for your agents, fielding all those informational calls leaves little time for anything else. That’s why it’s important to give prospects a legitimate self service channel so they get their questions answered.

AI-powered chatbots for health insurance can drastically reduce the volume of inbound requests by automatically answering simple questions that would otherwise flood your call center. Conversational AI enables these types of health insurance chatbots to answer even the more complicated questions, such as queries comparing different plans.

Health insurance chatbots also excel with outbound communications. For example, if the customer’s behavior indicates they might need support (perhaps they’ve left parts of the application blank), the chatbot can proactively reach out to the customer and retrieve the missing information or guide them through the next steps.

Of course, not every inbound request can be answered by a bot. It’s worth mentioning here that some chatbots for health insurance have highly evolved AI sentiment analysis, which can automatically and seamlessly bring in a human agent if it detects the customer is getting frustrated.

4. Email-to-Quote Automation

Many requests for quotes come in via email from brokers. The more brokers you work with, and the more clients those brokers have, the more data you’ll need to process—data that often arrives in disparate formats and various messages.

If providing manual quotes is a huge drain on specialists' time and resources, a powerful email automation system that provides data entry automation and document processing should be high on your wishlist. An email-to-quote automation tool does exactly what it sounds like: the software scans incoming emails from brokers, extracts critical quote data from the body of the text AND attached documents and populates directly into quoting systems. With email-to-quote, you can process customer information, and thus turn around a quote, much much faster.

Time is money when your organization is trying to hit 70% of its yearly sales targets in Q4. The longer it takes to provide a quote, the greater the chance of losing out to a nimble competitor.

5. AI-Driven Recurring Campaigns

Closing business at open enrollment isn’t the end of the sales cycle. The best insurers know, it’s just the beginning of a long customer relationship.

Instead of thinking about the sales cycle like this:

Outbound > Appointment > Quote > Sale

Think about it like this:

Outbound > SMS opt-in > Reminder and appointment prep > Appointment > Quote > Follow-up > Sale > Survey > Outbound > Sales Incentive > Outbound > Next Year’s Open Enrollment

Insurance automation can do a lot more than just win business today. It can strengthen and expand customer relationships throughout the year and beyond, ultimately reducing member churn.

The key is customization. Remember those low-code customer agents? Likewise, a low- or no-code automation platform can be quickly tailored to offer discounts, send birthday greetings or whatever you’d like after the customer is on board. Because the automation platform hooks into the firm’s CRM (and you should make sure any solution you purchase does), it can access all that customer data to deliver a highly personalized experience from start to finish, without an agent needing to make a single call. It’s the most efficient way yet devised to engage customers—and retain them.

No need to bombard them—just connect with them periodically to keep the relationship warm.

Remember: firms that keep most of their customers year after year don’t have to sweat their sales targets in Q4.

Ushur’s Insurance Sales Automation:
Ready to Go in <1 Month

Open enrollment is fast approaching, but it’s never too late to equip your teams with insurance sales tools that can help them nail their targets—and even get a head start on next year’s.

Ideal for companies struggling to get ahead of open enrollment, Ushur’s insurance agency automation system accelerates time-to-value from months to weeks with features like:

  • Free white glove implementation. Unlike other insurance sales automation vendors, who hand you a chatbot and expect you to train it yourself—or charge an additional $40K for onboarding—Ushur’s implementation is all-inclusive and led by our engineers.
  • Pre-trained virtual agents. Chatbots typically need to train on 1,000 machine learning examples before they achieve human-acceptable accuracy. We pre-train our chatbots for health insurance on a database of common language so they start with 80% accuracy out of the box.
  • Agent-friendly platform. Our interface uses an easy drag-and-drop interface. Insurance agent sales tools your team can actually get the hang of quickly.
  • Customizable workflows. Unique to Ushur is our design-your-own automation workflows. Tailor the open enrollment customer journey to fit any plan or product, and easily add in retention lifecycles.
  • Military-grade security. Our automated insurance sales tools are SOC 2 Type 2- and HIPAA-compliant, complete with AES 256-bit encryption and multi-factor authentication.

Contact us for an insurance sales automation demo today.

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About Ushur

Ushur is the complete solution for intelligent automation. Ushur engages customers over AI-powered chatbots, email, SMS and more, using conversational AI and intuitive workflows to understand what people are saying and what to do next.

Chatbots for Health Insurance Case Study

To learn more about providers using chatbots for health insurance, read our case study on how a carrier used Ushur’s virtual agents to cut short-term disability claims processing from three weeks to one hour.