Sacramento-based One, Inc. secures $20 million Series B for insurance tech
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Photo credit: One, Inc.

Photo credit: One, Inc.

Chatbots have been key to streamlining the company’s services

Software as a Service (SaaS) platform One, Inc. has raised $20 million in a Series B funding round. Led by AXA Strategic Ventures (ASV), previous investor H&Q Asia Pacific returned for this round and was joined by a new partner, MassMutual Ventures.

One, Inc.’s SaaS platform caters to insurance companies and offers a wide range of services, including policy administration, billing and payments, document and customer relationship management, e-signature verification, as well as digital engagement, among other tasks. It’s grown threefold since 2013, and has four times more users as well. It’s their first round since raising $16.7 million in 2014 according to Crunchbase.

In a statement, One, Inc. founder and CEO Christopher W. Ewing remarked that, “The shift happening in the insurance industry is still in its early stages and the opportunity to redefine how insurance companies approach technology and interact with their customers is tremendous.” This Series B investment will go towards developing new products, upgrades to the SaaS platform, and international expansion.

For the California-based company founded in 2006, that means rapidly rolling out offerings in as little time as possible so that all of the main functions of the insurance enterprise – “everything from core systems to payments to distribution management,” notes MassMutual Ventures Managing Director Doug Russell – is ready to go up in just a few months, and frequently updated.

To meet these demands, the company has invested in more efficient chatbot technology. The use of these bots removes the need for human interaction with customers for basic but essential tasks, especially billing and payments. Users across a wide array of industries increasingly expect this from their chatbot experience, which is one of the reasons the tool is so attractive, and not just to insurers. One, Inc.’s chatbots work on Facebook Messenger, which began offering bots access to it at the start of 2016.

As Geektime has previously reported, the customer service experience is changing fast. Once you scale back on the physical help desk, and then the phone with an operator on the other end, you’ve gotten the actual human-to-human interaction down to an exchange of words via text. And with such distance now established as a matter of convenience, coupled with improvements in machine learning, companies are seeking value in replacing the keyboarders at the help and billing desks with bots.

Or as Chatbots Magazine puts it, “Customer service is probably the flagship use case for a chatbot,” with the machines able to handle “specific requests that are context-specific (location, time-based, purchase-history, etc.)” as well as notifications to remind users of updates, special offers, and deadlines. Brands, of course, make full use of these services already, such as the automated messaging services that have reminded me, without fail for several weeks, to make sure I am enrolled with a healthcare provider for 2017 in accordance with the US’s “Obamacare” rules. Or, perhaps even more behaviorally focused, there is a bot that could encourage people to quit smoking by sending out daily reminders, surveys, and FAQs through Facebook Messenger.

Increasingly, people are willing to try handling their drink orders, travel reservations, delivery, banking, or even library research requests via simple bots over messaging services. Although people are willing to give chatbots a chance, retention rates are low, expectations are high – a problem human operators encounter when irate customers want to know why their information is not immediately on hand when they call in – and a lot of consumers don’t even know that chatbots are an option.

Still, so long as they provide a faster, hassle-free customer service experience, they can expect to win over customers.

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