2018 BAI Global Innovation Award Finalist

BAI Global Innovation Awards 2018 finalist First National Bank


Best Application of Data Analytics, AI or Machine Learning in a Product or Service

FNB (First National Bank) – South Africa
Robo-Advice Tool for Life Insurance

FNB Life has created a Life Insurance Robo-tool which allows for the automation of life insurance needs analysis and advice. After reviewing a customer’s unique financial situation, it analyzes life insurance, disability and critical illness needs, which in turn allows the consultants to engage more meaningfully with the customer.

The Life Insurance Robo-tool enables FNB to provide advice at scale to a large segment of FNB consumers at a fraction of the time and cost compared to traditional face-to-face advice channels.

By using the robo-tool within the FNB call center, consultants can provide customers with much needed financial advice with regards to their insurance needs through a guided advice process which assists in establishing the financial position of customers. Based on these inputs, the robo-tool calculates what the appropriate insurance should be and allows the agent to recommend these amounts to the customer. The advice is provided during the same engagement as the product sale and reduces the need for back and forth or multiple engagements.

FNB Team Photo

The Problem

Financial advice has been shown to improve the financial well-being and the financial resilience of individuals, resulting in a heathier economy. Unfortunately, the costs associated with the provisioning of this vital service act as a barrier to entry and limits access for large parts of the South African consumer base.

To compound this, consultants are limited to providing product information and executing on the requests of customers. We find that customers often don’t know what their life insurance needs are or why the need it. Providing financial advice to the masses without incurring incremental cost is a business model problem and we identified the need for a different approach to financial advice.

We investigated the opportunity to utilize technology to automate part of the advice process to provide this vital service to a larger audience without a proportional increase in costs and labor required.

The Solution

In August 2017, we introduced the FNB Life Insurance Robo-tool to the FNB Call Centre consultants, enabling them to provide customers with much needed financial advice around their insurance needs.

Training was simple and well received, which ensured an easy and immediate implementation process. Sales agents, through a guided advice process, are now able to establish life insurance needs of customers via telephone, advise on recommended cover amounts and fulfill the sale within 45 minutes.

Based on these inputs, the Life Insurance Robo-tool calculates what the appropriate insurance with regards to death, disability and critical illness should be and allows the agent to recommend these amounts to the customer. The advice is provided during the same engagement as the product sale and reduces the need for back and forth communication over multiple engagements, which previously could take several days or weeks to complete.

In addition, we have expanded the Life Insurance Robo-tool to also include a new BETA version of “Switch module.” This will enable the consultants to provide FNB customers with not only advice on their existing funeral insurance but also to help the customer with other product providers to determine if it would be in their best interest to switch and consolidate their cover with FNB Life.

Below is the screen flow that enables this conversation. Part of this process is to also perform a product comparison in terms of compliance requirements that help the customer make an informed decision.

FNB Robo Tool


The Outcome

Since the innovation was implemented 10 months ago, we’ve already experienced significant improvements in call center sales, including:

  • Average benefits per policy increased by 74 percent: customers are made aware of their needs beyond just mortality. Policies sold through an advice-led engagement tend to include more disability and critical illness.
  • Average Sum Assured increased by 41 percent: An increase in sum assured indicates that customers who understand the necessity of life insurance tend to take up larger sum assureds to provision for their loved ones in the event of their death.
  • Average Premium increased by 20 percent: As a result of more benefits per policy and higher sum assureds, customer premiums also increased.
  • Average Annual Premium Income per agent 80 percent: Agents utilizing the Life Insurance Robo-tool generate more annual premium income as a result of the higher premiums of the policies they incept.