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The Rise of Intelligent Automation in Benefits Administration

Relative to other HR services, the application of intelligent automation in benefits administration is lagging, but is slowly making progress.  With respect to RPA, Conduent and Alight are among the first movers, with both using bots for manual calculations in pension administration. In addition, Alight has deployed bots for low-level transactional work that is typically offshored, and in 2016, Conduent launched an intelligent technology group, which is focusing on leveraging RPA to drive improvement across its entire HR services business.

Fast followers currently with initiatives around RPA include other tier one providers.  For example:

  • ADP has partnered with Symphony to roll out its first RPA program for 2018 annual enrollment, which will include four RPA processes, with eight robots live
  • Fidelity will incorporate RPA in various processes, including reducing the implementation time for HSAs
  • Mercer will have ten robots in its operation by the end of the year and will launch more in 2018.

In addition to RPA, the use of chatbots and automated virtual assistants is also increasing in the benefits market. For example:

  • Alight is currently leveraging an IVA solution within its DB and DC administration business that includes ~425 questions, and will launch a chatbot for its H&W services business in H1 2018 
  • Businessolver launched its chatbot, Sofia, in time for 2018 annual H&W enrollment
  • Mercer recently launched a chatbot for internal use to assist its client-serving teams with benefits administration inquiries in Asia
  • Fidelity launched an automated virtual assistant in its retail business earlier this year to help users find general information on the Fidelity.com website
  • ADP and Conduent are actively seeking partners to deploy chatbots
  • Morneau Shepell is considering the use of an automated virtual assistant in its EAP business for service-type calls, such as changing appointments.  

Both Alight and Businessolver’s chatbots are equipped with machine learning, allowing for easy analysis so that providers can quickly understand what information needs to be added to the chatbot.  Outside of chatbots, the use of machine learning in benefits administration is in its infancy. But, it’s only a matter of time until the use of all the intelligent automation tools becomes the norm.

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