Chatbots

Neither Gecko Nor Caveman, GEICO Adds Virtual Assistant Kate

A 15-minute call may save you 15 percent (or more) on car insurance, but what about answering those questions related to insurance? GEICO has unveiled its virtual assistant named Kate to take care of that, without appearing like a caveman or a gecko.

The Chevy Chase, MD-headquartered company said that Kate will help customers navigate the GEICO mobile app; answer questions, like knowing the current balance on the customer’s auto policy or when the next payment is due; and even how to access all those related documents. All those questions can be answered — by typing or talking — through the app 24/7, and the reason behind it is to make self-service easier.

As a chatbot-type assistant, Kate has been, of course, programmed toward insurance but also, according to company executives, will reveal personal details about herself, to humanize her.

The company’s website promotes that “Kate learns by chatting with customers just like you. Have a question? Just start a conversation with Kate, and she’ll give you an answer or take you exactly where you need to be in the GEICO Mobile App.”

“Kate is very intuitive and has been programmed to connect with policyholders at a deeper level,” said Pete Meoli, GEICO mobile and digital experience director. “We wanted her to be friendly with a natural interaction.”

But as for being human-like, there doesn’t yet seem to be a face for Kate. While GEICO’s famous, satirical gecko character often appears in the commercials, the new virtual assistant does not seem to have an image.

Currently, the iOS app has Kate now added to the system, but GEICO executives said Android users will have Kate available in the upcoming weeks.

GEICO is the second-largest private passenger auto insurance company in America, with more than 14 million customers and 23 million related vehicles.

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