Farm Bureau Transforms Customer Experience with LEAP PROTO Alumnus’ Chatbot

The insurer’s AI-driven chatbot was created by Israeli startup Supportomate, which participated in the first PROTO Accelerator InsurTech program cohort.

(Image source: Supportmate homepage.)

Farm Bureau Insurance of Michigan (Lansing) has adopted artificial intelligence (AI) driven chatbot technology that learns from and adapts to customer cues, created by Israeli startup Supportomate. The startup is a graduate of the the PROTO Accelerator InsurTech program, run by the Lansing Economic Area Partnership (LEAP), a coalition of area leaders partnering in efforts to grow, retain and attract business in Michigan.

Don Simon, CEO, Farm Bureau Insurance.

Supportomate’s technology has been adopted by Farm Bureau to support agents in a way that will transform the customer experience, according to a LEAP statement. The Israeli company was selected as one of three international high-tech startups to join the first PROTO Accelerator InsurTech program cohort in April 2019.

“Farm Bureau Insurance is pleased to work with Supportomate, a PROTO company specializing in technology that will allow us to further enhance service to our agents and insured,” comments Don Simon, CEO, Farm Bureau Insurance.

Farm Bureau is investing in a pilot of Supportomate’s chatbot planned to begin in September with a select group of agencies. The technology holds human-like conversations capable of completing any insurance transaction including sales, bill-pay, claims processing, underwriting, credentialing and other interactions. “Having data from live pilots is everything for a startup,” comments Ron Shalit, founder, Supportomate. “With this opportunity we can truly demonstrate the benefits our technology has for both the call centers and the agents.”

In the Lansing region alone, the insurance industry adds more than $30 billion in annual revenue to the local economy, with employment growing at a rate 10 times the national average. PROTO InsurTech is a business accelerator and equity investment fund led by LEAP, with the stated aim of stimulating innovation and entrepreneurship in the insurance industry and across the state. The program’s central goal is to help Michigan insurance companies innovate to increase efficiencies, decrease costs and add an overall value to the insurance service chain, LEAP reports. Another focus of the program is to permanently attract high-tech startups like Supportomate to the region for future job creation and investment.

Tony Willis, President, PROTO Accelerator.

Cutting-Edge Technology Globally Sourced

“These pilots are the exact reason we started the PROTO InsurTech program,” comments Tony Willis, President, PROTO Accelerator. “We are bringing cutting edge technology from all over the world right to doorsteps of our local insurance corporations.”

Supportomate is the first POC announcement of the PROTO InsurTech 2019 cohort. In its first year, PROTO InsurTech, supported by Farm Bureau, Delta Dental and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), is expected to achieve success with 100 percent of the startups entering into proof of concept (POC) agreements. Carriers from across the state are invited to invest in PROTO InsurTech. In addition, the application for startups interested in being considered for the next PROTO InsurTech cohort beginning in January 2020 is currently open, LEAP reports.

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Anthony R. O’Donnell // Anthony O'Donnell is Executive Editor of Insurance Innovation Reporter. For nearly two decades, he has been an observer and commentator on the use of information technology in the insurance industry, following industry trends and writing about the use of IT across all sectors of the insurance industry. He can be reached at or (503) 936-2803.

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