Canadian insurer Manulife has announced the launch of a new skill on Amazon Echo.

Starting next month, Manulife policyholders will leverage the home assistant’s voice recognition technology “Alexa” to track vision, dental and health benefits provided by the carrier. Manulife’s innovation labs LOFT and RED, in conjunction with Amazon, developed the new application.

“The days of expecting plan members to fill out forms or wait for a response on a quick balance check are over. Smartphones and other technologies have changed the way people do things,” said Donna Carbell, SVP of group benefits at Manulife, in a statement. “[Customers] want to interact when and where it's convenient for them, so we've made it easier than ever for plan members to get the most out of their group benefits plan.”

A look inside Manulife's Toronto LOFT
Global head of innovation Ace Moghimi gives Digital Insurance a tour of the insurer's innovation lab

With the move, Manulife joins a slew of insurers in 2017 to adopt Amazon Echo as an additional channel to interact with customers. Farmers Insurance, Nationwide, Allstate and Liberty Mutual are just some of the notable carriers to debut Alexa skills this year.

“Conversational artificial intelligence is becoming the fastest growing technology interaction method,” said Jim Stirtzinger, director of RED Lab. "If life is a juggling act, we've just given plan members an extra set of hands."

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