Southern Cross Invests in Digital Human 


Southern Cross Health Society has announced it will launch an artificial intelligence (AI)-powered digital assistant in 2019, claiming to be a world-first step for a health insurer.

Built using AI company FaceMe’s Intelligent Digital Human Platform, the yet-to-be-named AI persona will offer Kiwis a new way to learn about health insurance and how it can add value.

With the ability to communicate with people in an empathetic and personalised way, FaceMe’s digital humans are equipped with machine learning, meaning they can continuously learn from conversations over time to better understand a person’s needs.

Southern Cross Health Society Chief Executive Officer, Nick Astwick, says the organisation is not aware of any other health insurer in the world investing in a digital human.

“A digital human can answer questions often asked about health insurance, such as how the New Zealand health system works, what health insurance can cover you for and education around pre-existing conditions. People can feel embarrassed asking basic questions, but the digital human is always patient and doesn’t judge.

“In time, the technology can be deployed into other areas, such as providing advice on products, based on what we know about our customers,” he said.