Business & Economy

Tuesday, 26 September 2017 18:29

Simply Financial Services adds a chatbot to stir up its market mix

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Simply goes for the chatbot

Recent entrant, selling into SA’s life insurance market, Simply Financial Services has come to stir things up. South Africa’s mass-market life insurance space, which the business defines as people earning up to R30k per month, is extremely competitive with high lapse rates and brutal competition.

The Simply shake up involves a combination of technology smarts, keen pricing and deep life insurance experience, as well as strong industry networks to build a business that can deliver super simple life insurance products at disruptively low prices.

Policies are available for as little as R59 a month, depending on the level of cover selected, and are underwritten by Old Mutual Alternative Risk Transfer Limited, a member of the Old Mutual Group.

Enter the chatbot

Part and parcel of its disruptive intentions has been the introduction of its chatbot. Available since launch, the Simply chatbot (called Sam) has been developed from its quoting engine and allows customers to get a quick quote via Facebook messenger in a matter of seconds. The chatbot has been used for over 600 messages and quotes. People also use the chatbot to ask questions about their policies or ask for callbacks at specific times.

“As a disruptive #fintech company, we love to explore conversational commerce opportunities,” says Anthony Miller, CEO of Simply Financial Services. “We believe in meeting the customer where they are - and Facebook is increasingly that place, where people play, learn, and buy products that they need.”

The Simply chatbot is one of several ways that customers can get in touch – intentionally designed so that people can use the channel that works best for them. Simply’s website, for example, has a live chat functionality, which is well utilised - people ask all sorts of questions here - about the products, company, the details of cover etc.

“While we are not allowed to sell life insurance via Facebook yet, we use our chatbot to demonstrate the incredible value that customers can get - if they click through to our website,” Miller said.

Brand philosophy

“Simply’s chatbot is a continuation of our brand value and company philosophy, to offer easily accessible and affordable life insurance products and to simplify our touch points with our customer,” he added.Meanwhile, Forrester Research in its report “Bots aren’t ready to be Bankers – August 31, 2016”, has cautioned that although chat bots are developing rapidly, customer experience is not, and that many fail to effectively meet users’ needs due to poor infrastructure and lack of fundamental understanding of artificial intelligence or AI.

Miller however remains bullish about the chatbot and its role within the business both now and going forward. “Futurologists reckon we’ll need less of the human touch as we develop algorithms to enable “robo advice” – improving service and reducing fees in the process,” he added. “We believe our value proposition, in terms of the products and the nature of the market we are targeting, is synergistic with the chatbot and the services it can deliver to our customers,” he says.

Simply Financial Services are targeting potential customers in three different ways. These being: Directly to individual breadwinners (Family Cover) – online and call centre Via domestic employers (Domestic Cover) – online and call centre Via SME employers (Business Cover) – online, call centre and independent brokers To date Simply has launched the Family Cover and Domestic Cover products, and is on track to soft launch its Business Cover product later this month.Family Cover is limited to R1.5million life, R1.5m disability and R50k family funeral cover, while Domestic Cover is limited to R200k life, R400k disability and R50k family funeral.

In both cases, policies start from R59 per month. Signing up for Simply products is simple too. The entire online process takes less than 10 minutes, requiring the individual to fill in some personal details, answer three health questions and, should they qualify, capture their beneficiaries. No blood or medical tests are required and cover is instantaneous. Cover is limited to claims caused by accidents for the first six months - standard in similar products with limited pre-screening.  

About Simply Financial Services (Simply)
Simply Financial Services (Simply) is a registered financial services provider that designs and sells great value, simple life insurance products in South Africa. The business was founded by three South Africans: technology entrepreneur Anthony Miller and actuaries Simon Nicholson and Shaun Dippnall, and comprises a lean and agile team of 11 based in Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and Johannesburg.Simply products include life, disability and funeral cover – available individually or as a combo – and start from as little as R59 a month, depending on the level of cover selected. Simply products are underwritten by Old Mutual Risk Transfer Ltd (OMART), a member of the Old Mutual Group. More information on

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