ChatGPT Can Superpower the Insurance-Buying Experience

_By translating complicated compliance rules into plain English and by freeing humans to do higher-level, mission-critical work, Newfront Co-Founder and CTO Gordon Wintrob believes AI will be a valuable tool for insurance buyers and sellers.   _

Ever since ChatGPT — OpenAI’s revolutionarily intelligent chatbot — launched in November, the reaction has been fever-pitched. For every public figure and journalist calling ChatGPT an “industry game-changer” or a “Google killer,” another has warned that this is the beginning of the end for humanity as we know it. So, what should we make of ChatGPT? And what can it mean for the future of insurance?

Newfront Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer Gordon Wintrob has been plugged into the AI debate since its inception. So, is he worried that ChatGPT is a technological Pandora's box better left unopened? “I guess I’m more of an optimist. I’ve spent more time thinking about positive ways that it can be applied,” he says, laughing. “With any technology, there will be some people who use it for nefarious purposes. Ever since humans discovered fire, I'm sure the next day someone was like, ‘Oh, I could light that thing on fire and watch it burn.’ But I’m mainly just excited about the ways it can change the way we work.”

Translating Data into Plain English

For Wintrob, the excitement stems from the ways ChatGPT can improve the customer experience and free up time for humans to do what they do best: think deeply and be creative. Newfront offers its customers access to thousands of pages of information about insurance offerings and compliance rules by region, and more. But sorting through the information is always a challenge. “If I want to look up information about employment law compliance in California, I can find a blog article or a PDF that explains it,” Wintrob says. “But it would be so much more powerful and intuitive for our clients if they could just say, ‘Hey, I have this thing on my mind. Let me just ask you a question.’ And we could respond with an AI-powered answer that’s in plain English that they can actually understand.”

What’s exciting to Wintrob is that Newfront could train an AI-powered chatbot on the mountains of relevant data already in the library of information and it could instantly surface the correct answer to the specific question. By further empowering Newfront’s revolutionary client dashboard — where clients can pull up all their current plans: dental, medical, vision, and more — with the chatbot, people could get instant answers to ultra-specific questions like, “I have this distributed workforce. I'm opening offices in new countries and I have no experience with how to make sure that I'm compliant. Is my plan compliant in Poland? Is it a competitive offering in the Vancouver market?” 

Freeing Human Hours For Valuable Work

The second piece that could be a game-changer in Wintrob’s view is the ability to free human hours to make Newfront and other companies’ offerings more customer-focused and powerful. “I've seen so many examples in the insurance industry where there are people who are working on things that are not the best use of their time — they're spending hours every day doing things like copying information out of a PDF and putting it in a spreadsheet,” he says. “Taking that task from them so that they can focus on delivering an amazing service to our clients would be hugely valuable. Humans are better suited to guiding clients through important decisions like, ‘Where is their business heading?’ ‘What are some of their greatest risks or threats?’ ‘How is their workforce changing?’”

The key to successfully leveraging new technology like ChatGPT is what Wintrob calls “human-computer symbiosis.” He always asks: “How do we bring these things together so we help elevate what people are working on?” 

It remains to be seen how ChatGPT and other AI-powered chatbots will change everything from pharmaceutical trials to customer service. But many of the smartest minds on AI agree with Wintrob: the most compelling application will be ChatGPT’s ability to unleash the power of automation and empower employees to focus on more strategic work, leaving time-consuming tasks to AI. 

A Brokerage for the 21st Century (and Beyond)

For Newfront, the ability to use AI to turn unstructured data into searchable data has already completely changed the client experience. Supercharging that data via an artificially intelligent chatbot could make it easier than ever for clients to learn, instantaneously, “What is my budget for property casualty insurance or employee benefits going to look like next year?” Newfront has already made it possible to quickly see what changes can be made to become a safer business or to save money. 

“AI is a shortcut. That’s the power of automation,” Wintrob says. “Rather than poring over a long PDF, you can give GPT a document and say, ‘What is the premium for this policy?’ And it can instantly spit back an answer. That is pretty cool.”

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