Quickly responds to COVID-19 mutual aid claims by implementing AI voicebot cloud service "ekubot ® VoiceLITE."

The Federation of Japanese Consumer Cooperatives

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  • Finance/ Insurance
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  • Automation of Standardized Responses in Reception

  • Man-hour Reduction in High Season Operation

  • Quick Implementation of Voicebot


  • Automation of Standardized Responses for Primary Inquiries or Information Material Requests during Peak Hours in Contact Center

  • Man-hour Reduction in High Season Operation

  • Stable Staff Allocation (training and education) Unaffected by Business Fluctuations

Installation Service

  • Call Center

    Implementation of ekubot Voice LITE


  • Automation of Standardized Responses during a Sharp Increase of Inbound Calls to Secure Stability of Operation All Day Long.

  • Secure Time for Improving Customer Service Attributed by Optimization of Reception with Standardized Responses.

  • Man-hour Reduction with Stable Staff Allocation Unaffected by Business Fluctuations

Japan Consumers' Co-operative Union (Japan Co-op), engaged in mutual aid enterprises, in common with others during the Covid-19 pandemic, faced concern about how to handle the spike in inbound calls in case of an emergency such as a natural disaster or infection spread. The automation of claims for mutual insurance led by ekubo Voice LITE, an AI voicebot cloud service* developed by BELLSYSTEM24, contributed to Japan Co-op to over come that challenge during the Covid-19 pandemic and carried on stability of reception, prompt payment, and improvement of service for subscribers.

*Voicebot: automated response system operable by users' natural conversations driven by AI voice recognition software application


Mr. Yoshikatsu Osawa, General Manager,Claims Service Department

Implementation of ekubo Voice LITE, an AI voicebot cloud service, as a countermeasure for the increased number of covid-19 related claim applications

Japan Co-op, a direct primary organization of mutual aid enterprises operated by prefecture branches (only Kanagawa run by the national office), faced unprecedented congestion on the call line at various points due to an increasing number of claims for so-called deemed hospitalization* under the seventh wave of the Covid-19 pandemic after July 2022.

*deemed hospitalization: The condition of an insurance subscriber with a positive diagnosis of COVID-19 becomes a recipient of hospitalization benefits even under recuperation at home or accommodation.

Mr. Osawa said, “While we cope with this situation, such as how to lead users to My Page (dedicated page for plan members) on our website, the line had been still under severe congestion and we need to take a new measure to address the issue. Then approached to BELLSYSTEM24, already been the contractor of outsourcing our part of fire insurance division and the co-examiner of the new system, whether the ekubo Voice LITE, an AI voicebot cloud service, can be introduced urgently.”

BELLSYSTEM24's ekubo Voice LITE, one of the entry models of its original AI voicebot cloud service named ekubot®, operates in reception with automated voice response to handle untaken inbound calls among too much to take during spike.

EEven before the Covid-19 pandemic, both Japan Co-op and BELLSYSTEM24 worked together to plan the implementation of ekubot VoiceLITE, an automation system of standardized responses in reception to stabilize and speed-up the billing process in insurance claims against natural disasters.

Mr. Osawa said, We then consulted with BELLSYSTEM24 about applying this ongoing implementation plan into processing claims for mutual insurance for Covid-19.

The collaboration of them made real in the automation of Covid-19 mutual aid claims in a short span.

At the request of Japan Co-op, BELLSYSTEM24 launched a project to achieve automation of the system processing mutual insurance claims for Covid-19 rapidly by a month.

“What worried us most was if automatic voice response alone was able to complete each call and if customers might leave the call because they were unfamiliar with it to understand,” said Mr. Osawa.

To address such concerns, BELLSYSTEM24 built a system of claim applications manipulable only by easy dial and voice controls, with automated response scenarios co-designed with Japan Co-op, based on the accumulated expertise of operations in the insurance industry.

Mr. Osawa said, “BELLSYSTEM24 provided detailed advice to us based on their expertise and past successes. This resulted in polishing the initial scenario we had drafted to a more practical one.”

Also, BELLSYSTEM24 offered flexible follow-ups for concerns said by Mr. Osawa as such “We were also worried that the limited number of lines of ekubot VoiceLITE might cause a situation where some calls cannot go through,” by setting up multiple numbers of phone lines to prepare for adjusting in accord to the fluctuations of inbound calls.

The collaboration between Japan Co-op and BELLSYSTEM24 brought about the realization of the automation system operating mutual insurance claims for Covid-19 in just one month from its requirement definition through construction to implementation.

Commitment to the Prompt Payment and Improvement of Service for Subscribers.

The effects of the automation of claims for mutual insurance led by the implementation of ekubo Voice LITE yielded the following three results.
The first result is to secure the operation of the reception system of covid-19 insurance claims in 24 hours at any time with its automation and with aggregation inquiries in each prefecture in one place.
Mr. Osawa said, “Claims for mutual insurance are usually received at each prefectural association except some of those received by Japan Co-op. When we had lots of calls for Covid-19 insurance claims, some subscribers called Japan Co-op and complained, saying, 'Why don’t my calls go through?' However, after we introduced the automated Covid-19 claim processing system, the number of calls processed by human agents decreased and this alleviated the issue of calls not going through.”
The actual number of calls from subscribers processed through ekubot Voice LITE is shown on the system log as up to 75,000 per month in peak season with its application completion rate of approximately 60%.

Mr. Yoshikatsu Osawa,
General Manager,Claims Service Department
“We were able to make timely payments, which is a mission of the prefectural mutual aid associations,” Mr. Osawa assessed the second result, “The biggest purpose of our mutual insurance is, in the case that something happens, to pay the promised mutual aid fund to subscribers in a timely fashion. The seventh wave of Covid-19 caused a sudden and temporary increase in mutual insurance claims. We were unable to respond to all those calls and 'timely payments' were compromised. However, the introduction of ekubot Voice LITE provided enough reception contacts, and also the automated process after calls allowed our staff to spend their time on payment work.” He also pointed out that another major benefit was that we got higher work efficiency on call handling for insurance claims with an automated application system made agents' manual data entry unnecessary, and such “Better efficiency led to realizing timely payments, and the service level of our members improved.”
The man-hour reduction was the third result, said Mr. Ogawa,“Increasing the number of agents in each prefecture would have cost several times more than introducing ekubot Voice LITE. As a whole, the group was able to keep costs down.”

Further development of utilizing ekubot Voice LITE in the field of natural disaster insurance claims

Mr. Osawa looked back at the initiative of ekubot Voice LITE implementation under the covid-19 pandemic which accomplished dealing with the increased claim applications with stable and prompt manners in Japan Co-op as follows:

“Fortunately, BELLSYSTEM24 responded to our requests in a flexible manner to get closer to what we aim for based on their diverse expertise and experiences in the circumstances that compel us to cope with sudden changes in business volume, changes in payment terms, etc. during a coronavirus pandemic, and most obviously in 2022.”

In addition, “The easy obtaining of ekubot Voice LITE was effective in our success in adjusting the number of call lines up to the level of work pressure,” added Mr. Osawa.

He expressed forwarded prospects of Japan Co-op after the achievement this time to develop the utility of ekubot Voice LITE in the field of natural disaster insurance claims.

“We are going to put the plan of utilizing ekubot Voice LITE in the field of natural disaster insurance into action to deal with temporal congestion on the call line in reception operations, in sharp contrast with reaching the end of its role in covid-19 insurance claim on the decline of its number after the change handling method of deemed hospitalization applied in September 26, 2022.”

BMr. Osawa indicated their high hope to deploy their success in the automation of claims for mutual insurance into other fields.

“We have been outsourcing our call center operation in night time and holidays (except fire report reception in 24/7 response) for many years to BELLSYSTEM24, and they are familiar with businesses in each of the prefecture. We can trust BELLSYSTEM24 to perform our work because they address our questions and requests properly and sincerely. We would like their continued support and cooperation in mutual insurance claims processing and ekubot Voice LITE operation. We also expect that they will proactively propose efficient services in terms of increasing the service level of our subscribers and improving our productivity as digital technologies evolve.”

The Federation of Japanese Consumer Cooperatives

Corporate website:https://www.kyosai-cc.or.jp/index.html

Japan Consumers’ Co-operative Union is a not-for-profit union that was established on December 18, 1971, in accordance with Consumer Cooperative Law under the approval of the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare. It is a primary body for Prefectural, Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka, Hokkaido and National Mutual Aid Funds (called the National Mutual Aid Fund in Kanagawa Prefecture), which are trusted as an easy, safe and solid insurance system to protect people’s lifestyles. The number of member unions was 51, and the capital amount was 260,136,970,000 JPY (as of March 31, 2022).

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