Aha Insurance provides a robust fully digital platform enabling Canadians in Ontario seeking insurance the ability to get an auto or home insurance quote. The user experience is enhanced by a friendly and intuitive chatbot created and supported by Living Actor. In this interview, President and CEO Steve Livingstone explains the motivation to include a chatbot avatar to enhance the user experience.

Starting Point: Context and Challenges

Can you introduce Aha Insurance?

Aha is a P&C insurance brokerage firm based in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. We launched 14 months ago and are on a mission to change the way home & auto insurance is sold in Ontario. We have built a true omni-channel distribution platform that allows the customer to choose how they want to purchase Insurance services – online, on the phone or some combination of the two. We are committed to providing a better, faster and easier way for Ontarians to experience insurance. By always placing the customer first, empowering them with complete control, and always guaranteeing the price that is quoted is the price they’ll pay – Aha insurance is a refreshing addition to the home and auto insurance landscape in Ontario.

Why did you decide to create a chatbot as an avatar?

Our goal is to provide our customers with tools to allow them to easily and confidently purchase their home and/or car insurance. A “chatbot” acts as a virtual broker and answers insurance questions at any time. Giving “personality” to the chatbot was critical – we needed a technical solution that was engaging and functionally valuable all at once.

Why did you choose Living Actor as partner for this project?

Living Actor understood that visual engagement is as critical as its underlying functionality – that engaging the consumer and attracting them to select the tool was as important as the functional capabilities once the tool is selected.

We also found that they were a dynamic organization and they demonstrated a willingness to work with us on our project. We felt the relationship would be mutually beneficial. After multiple RFP comparisons, Living Actor provided a robust, cutting edge AI solution at a cost-effective price, allowing for greatest value for the investment spend. There is a genuine interest and engagement from the Living Actor team that transcends a typical vendor relationship.

The Chatbot and its Deployment

How was your chatbot deployed with Living Actor?

We created the visual design of Igins when starting the project. The first step was to map out a few key elements, namely: where we wanted to deploy Igins along the customer journey, how that manifested itself in placement, actions, etc. – for both desktop and mobile versions. The layered animation was then elaborated on – we determined where Igins would have proactive “actions” (on critical decision points of the customer) and reactive instances. Our goal is to ensure our customers fully understand the impact of insurance choices they are making in the quoting journey.

Once that was completed, we built the underlying database of predetermined questions and answers and then linked it to the Living Actor natural language database. With that work completed. we were trained on the use of the tool. After launch, we have continued to iterate questions and answers based on real consumer interactions. Overall, it was a very efficient and effective deployment – we met deadlines and requirements in a very stress-free manner.

So who is Igins? What is his mission on your website?

We consider Igins to be our “virtual broker” – he rides along with the consumer during their online journey and his job is to give the consumer access to information that assists in making an informed decision. Igins also gives the consumer a sense of confidence and trust in that decision. Igins keeps the consumer in the journey so they can be “once and done” with their purchase.

The solution increases the likelihood of meeting the consumer’s needs and selling them our products. We also created short videos of Igins to entertain the customer during wait times in excess of 10 seconds. Igins dances, scrolls on his phone, does jumping jacks and pushups to entertain customers when pages are loading.

Why choose to represent your chatbot as a robot?

We wanted our chatbot to have a light-hearted and fun image that evokes feelings of modernity and friendliness. We wanted to have an appealing image that encourages the customer to interact with him.


To read: The Chatbot Manager, Your Virtual Assistant’s Indispensable Coach!


How does your chatbot work? Do you have a dedicated person to manage Igins?

The chatbot is embedded on both our desktop and mobile journeys. We have dedicated staff who regularly review and interpret consumer interactions to update our chatbot database with more effective responses and language.

What happens when Igins reaches its limit? Do you have an escalation to another channel?

The overall platform readily allows the consumer to trigger an interaction with a live agent at any time. Because the chatbot and the livechat/telephony solutions all reside on the online platform and are all fully integrated with Salesforce, the user can seamlessly transition across the various touchpoints in our platform.

Igins is not just a chatbot but he allows users to be patient during key steps. Can you describe your intention?

The motivation is quite straightforward – we want to keep users from leaving the journey – we want to minimize the sense of “waiting” and prevent them from getting impatient.

Igins is proactive on the forms and suggests specific assistance. What do you expect from this type of interaction?

This is about creating confidence among consumers, retaining them in the journey, dissuading them from leaving, and offering them a dynamic environment in their insurance shopping experience.

After implementation, what is your feedback?

What have users had to say since the introduction of Igins?

To date, we have seen a fair amount of interactions with Igins (over 9,000 interactions with an average duration of just over 1 minute). Our customer feedback surveys also indicate that he is a useful tool.

What did you think about Living Actor’s support in this project?

They have been a phenomenal partner – they are diligent, responsive, creative and proactive. They are constantly striving to improve their platform and understand where we are going as a business partner. Across all the components of our build, this was the truly “stress-free” piece.

What is the future of Igins? Will it evolve?

Leveraging a chatbot is a critical strategic element. As consumers evolve how they want to interact, we need to keep pace with a dynamic sales and service platform. This may include aspects such as enhanced CRM integration, voice, sentiment, transactional functionality, etc. We are certain we will need to leverage more of this on our platform and push the functional capability it provides.

Would you recommend Living Actor?

Without a doubt!