30 August 2017 SINGAPORE, 30 August 2017 – NTUC Income (“Income”) brings to market yet another customer centric innovation with the first unguided conversational travel insurance chatbot on mobile messaging application, Facebook Messenger.

Taking on the persona ‘Jiffy Jane’, the chatbot acts like one’s personal travel insurance concierge who’s always-on to assist customers’ queries on travel insurance and to enable the purchase of suitable plans in a jiffy.

The idea, said Mr Peter Tay, Income’s Chief Operating Officer, is to serve up à la minute travel insurance options for instant purchases when required with the click of a button. “Customers, especially the millennial, are used to accessing a range of services and products on their mobile devices. As such, it is natural that more customers expect insurance products to also be available online, customised to their needs in a very short span of time.”

The Income travel insurance chatbot was soft launched on 1 August and to date, there have been over 1,100 chat sessions with ‘Jiffy Jane’, which saw some 780 unique users. These conversations led to a total of 30 completed transactions during this period.

Mr Tay added, “In Singapore, seven in 10 people are active users of social media on their mobile devices. This figure doubles the global average of 34 per cent. As such, ‘Jiffy Jane’ on Facebook Messenger complements consumers’ increasingly mobile-first lifestyle, instantly serving up travel insurance options for purchase when requested 24/7. This means customers can benefit from getting travel insurance protection anywhere any time, even when they are at the airport and about to leave for their next destination.”

Conversational user experience enhances ease of use

Starting a conversation with ‘Jiffy Jane’ is akin to looking up a friend on Facebook Messenger. Unlike traditional chatbots that require customers to ask questions in a particular manner or to use specific keywords to prompt the chatbot, ‘Jiffy Jane’ leverages artificial intelligence (AI) to interact with customers in a conversation style. This allows customers to use natural language to chat with ‘Jiffy Jane’ as it is trained to recognise user intentions.

No onerous form filling - only simple traveller’s details needed

When the customer initiates the chat, ‘Jiffy Jane’ will prompt for information on the customer’s travel destination, departure date and trip duration. Based on the details provided, ‘Jiffy Jane’ will suggest travel insurance options, complete with plan benefits, for the customer to review and choose as an individual, for a group or the family.

To obtain a price quotation from ‘Jiffy Jane’ on the chosen travel insurance plan, the customer is only required to provide key details of travellers, e.g. name, gender, nationality, identification card number and birth date. Once provided, the customer does not need to input the details again if he or she decides to explore other travel insurance plans in the same chat.

Credit card payment supports seamless and fuss-free consumer journey

‘Jiffy Jane’ supports credit-card payment for a travel insurance plan by Income. The customer simply needs to provide key details such as credit-card number, card expiry date, cardholder name, CVV2/CVC2, mobile number, email and address to complete the transaction.

Upon purchase of the travel insurance plan successfully, ‘Jiffy Jane’ will notify the customer that he or she is successfully covered by Income for travel to the specified destination. A copy of the policy document will also be emailed to the customer within two working days.

Collaboration with start-up brings co-innovation to market faster

Income co-innovated ‘Jiffy Jane’ with Zumata, one of the nine start-ups selected for Income’s InsurTech accelerator programme, ‘Income Future Starter, powered by TAG.PASS’.

"As we refined and expanded our capabilities in natural language processing, we collaborated with Income at the Income Future Starter programme to improve the user experience of ‘Jiffy Jane’ so that it not only responds to travel insurance queries, but also accepts payment. Together, this provides a seamless consumer journey,” said Mr Josh Ziegler, Chief Executive Officer of Zumata.

Mr Peter Tay added, “Income is intentional to lead as a digital insurer by co-innovating and collaborating with start-ups in InsurTech. The popularity of chatbots has been on the rise especially after Facebook launched chatbots in Messenger. Income sees the potential that ‘Jiffy Jane’ has to disrupt the travel insurance industry in a positive way and we aim to tap on the synergies between Income and start-ups like Zumata so that the customers’ experience with insurance is made simpler, more accessible and most importantly, relevant to all.”

‘Jiffy Jane’ is the latest digital insurance solution by Income. To chat with ‘Jiffy Jane’, simply launch https://www.messenger.com/t/289845918150985.

Recently, Income launched the industry’s first accident-reporting mobile application for its motor policyholders to file an accident report remotely. Earlier this year, Income embedded cognitive technologies operationally by adopting IBM Watson Explorer to automate and improve its efficiency of pre- and post- hospitalisation claims. It also partnered Qoo10 Singapore to launch Purchase Guard, an insurance policy that protects online purchases of defective electronic goods.

In 2016, Income revolutionised the motor insurance industry with the introduction of two innovative motor insurance schemes – Drive Master and FlexiMileage – that leverage telematics to personalise insurance based on an individual’s driving behaviour.