Two more insurance companies have launched Alexa skills this month. Yesterday, Ohio-based Grange Insurance announced a new Alexa skill that enables users to find a local agent, ask about different policies offered by the company or receive and “insurance tip of the day.” Earlier this month, Aviva became the first UK insurer with an Alexa skill. It claims to offer an “insurance jargon buster” which is a glossary of terms common in the industry but not well understood by the public.
This brings the confirmed number of insurance agencies with Alexa skills to five. Liberty Mutual, Nationwide and Safeco all announced skills in 2016.
Offering Voice Access Brochureware
When Liberty Mutual’s Safeco unit launched an Alexa skill in September 2016 it surprised a number of industry watchers. It wasn’t obvious how an insurer would benefit from being embedded in a voice assistant. However, a quick review of the skill and you could easily determine that its primary objective was referring users to local agents. This offered a clear parallel to the rise of the web.
In the 1990’s consumer internet usage was growing fast. Companies wanted to have presence on the web so consumers could find them. They first put up webpages that were the online equivalent of brochures. These sites offered some information about the company and how consumers could make contact. Today’s insurance Alexa skills follow a similar pattern. Each attempts to have an interactive element, but the primary function is a brochure that includes contact information. The obvious question for other insurers is whether they can afford not be have a presence on the voice web that Amazon and Google are pioneering.