The rise of the digital coworker [Q&A]

Talent shortages are currently affecting many industries, and companies are increasingly turning to technologies such as robotic process automation (RPA) to fill the gaps.

Now there’s a new alternative in the form of the “digital worker,” designed to work seamlessly with an organization’s human workforce. We spoke to Chaz Perera, CEO and co-founder of Roots Automation, to learn more about this latest innovation.

BN: What is a digital coworker?

CP: We combine machine intelligence and human ingenuity to create intelligent digital workers that provide organizations with AI-powered, digitized workers who can think, read, and think intuitively like humans.

Digital workers significantly improve efficiency and increase capacity within strained insurance companies, providing executives with a turnkey, experienced workforce in digital form to support their day-to-day operations.

We serve mid-size and large companies at all stages of the insurance value chain (e.g. MGAs, Brokers, Carriers, TPAs ​​etc.) in the US, UK and English-speaking Canada.

An example of a digital coworker is Roxanne, our digital coworker claims assistant, who among other things:

  • Transactions at all stages of the claim process (from FNOL to recourse)
  • Read and understand data in insurance and medical documents, emails, forms, systems, etc.
  • Make decisions about some aspects of making reservations and making payments
  • Classify, index, extract, and route claims data and time-sensitive information to people or systems
  • Request additional information from policyholders, claimants, brokers/agents as needed

BN: Can the technology handle both unstructured and structured data?

CP: The digital employee was developed by leading insurance companies with insurance in mind. Digital coworkers are trained to understand and interact with both structured and unstructured documents commonly found in insurance — such as insurance applications, medical bills, or claims-related legal documents.

Our AI-First approach enables digital workers to analyze, understand, make decisions, perform work and learn like a human doing the same job. In addition, they aggregate that learning across our entire customer network – if one digital employee learns something, everyone does it.

BN: What role does artificial intelligence play?

CP: Digital workers use a range of AI/ML to work effectively. At the core of all of this is our patented “Human in the Loop” that actively learns from our customers’ employees (the experts) and shares this knowledge with other digital employees.

  1. The cognitive engine – the “brain” of the digital worker – contains a comprehensive corpus of insurance language, documents, data, systems and process knowledge that is constantly evolving and expanding.
  2. Digital vision – the “eyes” of the digital worker – which can dynamically recognize and interact with objects on a computer screen such as buttons, icons, data entry fields, etc. – that is, should the screen object change, move, or disappear, the digital worker becomes find it without having to update its core logic.
  3. Collaboration and communication—the “mouth and ears” of the digital worker—using natural language processing to interact and learn from human colleagues in real time.

BN: How can digital workers improve the job satisfaction of the human workforce?

CP: Finding talent is difficult. The insurance industry, for example, has maintained a 10 percent vacancy rate and its annual cost of onboarding talent is 20 percent higher than planned. Therefore, it is imperative that you create the right work environment for the employees you have to ensure you can keep them.

First, increasing job satisfaction is directly related to how you perceive your manager; and second, making sure your daily activities focus on the things that use your intellect.

While a digital worker cannot solve the former, they can solve the latter. Talent these days is too often focused on the wrong things. For example, the average insurance professional spends 60 percent of their day on low-value, low-complexity tasks.

If you could use your energy to engage with the customer, understand the limits of a risk, or challenge the merits of a claim, job satisfaction will be enhanced.

Our digital staff are trained to perform these low complexity insurance activities. For example, our ML models are trained to recognize the activities that people like to sugarcoat because they are unconvincing but critical, and the digital workers either show these to the appropriate people with the relevant context, or they execute the elements themselves . For example, some claims correspondence contains statements from lawyers or doctors who, if not dealt with within a short time window, leave the carrier hooked on unjustified claims costs. Claims experts overlook these points 25 percent of the time.

Digital workers significantly improve efficiency and increase capacity within busy insurance operations teams by providing executives with a holistic set of advanced tools to effectively automate core aspects of insurance operations.

BN: You’re currently targeting the insurance sector, do you see wider application in other industries?

CP: Our critical focus is to ensure our digital workforce can work across all key insurance use cases.

Once we have scaled effectively within insurance, we will consider expanding into new sectors.

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