Empowering HR with an AI Benefits Assistant

June 9, 2023

Newfront is our valued partner in our AHP business, helping us bring affordable and comprehensive health coverage to small businesses in Washington through our unique Association Health Plan offering. Newfront is a modern insurance brokerage that uses technology to simplify the buying process for clients and brokers. Their experienced insurance brokers help our member clients save money and find the right coverage for their risks.

The Challenge

Eighty-five percent of workers say they don’t understand their benefits programs. This leads
to two outcomes (neither of them good): 1) HR departments are deluged with questions or,
worse, 2) employees remain in the dark and feel underserved and underinsured. Enter
Newfront, a brokerage that leverages cutting-edge, AI-driven applications to reinvent the
delivery of risk management, employee experience, and insurance.

The Strategy

From its experience working closely with HR teams in multiple industries, Newfront understood
that the labor of translating confusing coverage details to their employees was falling on them.
Without sufficient resources to manage the flow of requests, HR teams often found
themselves presiding over an increasingly frustrated and confused workforce. Newfront
realized that there was no reason HR professionals should spend hours responding to the
same benefits questions again and again when AI was expert at streamlining repetitive tasks.

With that goal in mind, Newfront began building an AI-powered benefits assistant that clients
can deploy directly into an existing Slack channel. The assistant is designed to deliver answers
to questions employees have about their benefits and coverage. After training the AI on a
company s benefits guide and policy documents, the assistant pulls answers from its data set.
It never makes up answers; if it doesn’t have an answer to an employee question, the assistant
routes the question to an HR team member.

The Solution

Initial pilots immediately demonstrated the value of AI-powered benefits assistant in multiple ways:

  • The assistant offered a 24/7 option for employees who might otherwise be reluctant to trouble HR reps. It can answer questions about everything from vision coverage to pet insurance.
  • By implementing Newfront’s AI-driven benefits assistant, HR teams could cut duplicate work in half. Internal estimates suggest HR teams can save four weeks of work each year by using the assistant. Teams can use that saved time to dive into more strategic issues including shaping total rewards plans that better reflect trends in employee benefits and better position the company to attract top talent.
  • The assistant provided HR teams with insights into which topics are most confusing to employees, how employees are engaging with their benefits, if there are gaps in coverage, and more. For instance, Newfront discovered that some 50% of the topics covered were repeats, meaning that several employees had the same or similar questions.

Newfront used the inputs from the pilots to hone the solution, creating a first line of response
for HR leaders to leverage when engaging with employees.

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