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PwC boosts SWICA’s customer service IQ: new chatbot is being tested

Filis Sidiropoulos Advisory Director, PwC Switzerland 26 Jul 2018

PwC’s a household name in auditing and advisory, but how many people know that it’s also a leader in disruptive digital technology? Soon over a million SWICA insureds could be experiencing this expertise first-hand: the major health insurer has successfully tested ‘IQ’, the Swiss health insurance industry’s first chatbot, with its customers. This triumph of artificial intelligence has been facilitated by the very real intelligence of the people at PwC who conceived, designed and developed the application, managed the project and took care of quality assurance in collaboration with Enterprise Bot.


With health insurer SWICA regularly getting top marks for satisfaction, any innovation in its customer service has high expectations to live up to. Customer trials with ‘IQ’, a brand-new chatbot serving as a product assistant embedded in SWICA’s 7/24 hotline and online chat function, have not disappointed. On four evenings in July, German-speaking customers and interested parties were invited to try out the bot, with its performance monitored carefully by real-life SWICA staff. Following very good initial feedback from customers (the last test session takes place on 26 July), IQ’s progress will be carefully evaluated in detail, with versions of the chatbot in German, French, Italian and English planned for launch at the beginning of 2019.

PwC’s digital disrupters

Spearheaded by project leader Filis Sidiropoulos, designer Otto Hieb and project management/insurance specialist Karin Tremp, PwC’s team has played a key role in making this innovation a reality. Above all, the success of the project has been the result of great teamwork within the project team: Felix Gut (head of 7/24 customer service at SWICA), Ravina Mutha and Pranay Jain at Enterprise Bot (our partner for technical implementation and production), and everyone involved at PwC.

Behind an apparently simple customer interface lies a wealth of cutting-edge expertise, both locally and within PwC’s global network, in areas such as prototyping, developing and implementing disruptive technology, managing successful digital transformation projects, data analytics solutions involving deep actuarial knowledge, cybersecurity, user experience and usability testing – all combined with PwC’s longstanding experience working with the insurance and financial services industry. The project team has drawn on this expertise to help successfully create a digital application which has now been fed with SWICA’s knowledge of health insurance and the Swiss healthcare system as the basis for providing customers and website’s visitors with information on products.

User experience the key

It’s not just the technical side that has to work. To give customers the service they’ve come to expect from their health insurer, the bot has to function seamlessly as part of SWICA’s telephone and online advisory environment. The initial idea behind the IQ chatbot is to take up the slack when the insurer’s online, human-driven chat function is overloaded, freeing up staff so that permanent availability can be extended around the clock.

Another challenge is reliability: the chatbot has to be trustworthy. At this early stage, IQ is being given the chance to learn from its mistakes. In the test phase, staff monitor all the responses the chatbot gives to customer enquiries, and if IQ slips up or can’t answer a particular question, the chatbot understands the user’s sentiment and gives them the option of being transferred to a real-life advisor. As SWICA CEO Reto Dahinden explains, the AI-powered assistant has to be given the same leeway as the human staff and allowed to make mistakes, learn, and improve.

IQ’s future is to be decided once the tests have been evaluated. If progress is as good as the initial response suggests, customers will be experiencing PwC-driven AI in action, in four languages, from early 2019.

Feel free to contact us for a more a more in-depth (non-bot!) chat about how to boost your business IQ with artificial intelligence.

  • PwC conceived, designed and developed 'IQ', the Swiss health insurance industry's first chatbot.
  • SWICA tested IQ successfully with its customers.
  • Customers might experience PwC-driven AI in action, in four languages, from early 2019.



Filis Sidiropoulos

Advisory Director, PwC Switzerland

+41 58 792 2139