Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) Efficiencies

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) Efficiencies

Historically, the insurance industry has been slow to move beyond paper-based practices and adopt more modern ways of working. Across Sun Life, we have been modernizing the Group Benefits experience with new digital tools and services, along with deploying several software bots as well as AI tools to manage routine tasks and improve speed and accuracy. This allows our talented teams to do what they do best, spend more time supporting our clients. 

According to McKinsey & Company, the insurance industry has the potential to automate 25% of its processes by 2025, with RPA technology playing a vital role.


In insurance, RPA refers to the use of rules-based low-code software “bots” to manage the repetitive tasks of human workers, such as collecting customer information, extracting data in claims, performing background checks and so on. 


AI leverages computers and machines to augment the problem-solving and decision-making capabilities of humans.

Today, we primarily employ RPA tools in our business to make it easier to work with us. Examples include: 

Client experience step

New customer onboarding: Tools that help you get set up right, the first time.
  • A bot helps onboard clients quickly and accurately by determining what more information is needed on a census file, improving the speed and quality of setting up new benefits. 
Claims: Our case managers are supported with tools that allow them to spend more time reviewing individual claims. 
  • A claims contract wizard uses RPA and AI to automate manual steps in the initial claim review process.  This translates to complete claim information getting to the claim examiner sooner.
  • A claims letter writing bot automates the process of generating, sending, and saving life insurance claims letters. This aids our communications with beneficiaries.
  • A bot automates the calculation of orthodontic claims, presents the information to the examiner for approval, and then updates the claims system. This improves timeliness and accuracy in Dental claims handling.
  • A bot automates billing reconciliation for self-administered clients, creating faster and more accurate processing of payments.
  • A bot automates bill payment reminder emails to provide helpful reminders of due dates. This helps prevent unwanted lapses in coverage. This translates to less headaches later.

We’re also implementing AI solutions into the Client experience, to augment the work of our people and teams, allowing them to spend time with customers.

AI has many possible uses to improve the client experience, including helping to accurately extract information from incoming paperwork, so that we can be more responsive.

We employ RPA and AI to drive a better client experience. Specific benefits are:

  • Time savings – employees can spend their time on value-added work or strategic tasks
  • Reduction in repetitive, manual work
  • Improved quality and accuracy
  • Faster claim decision and payment

Both are used  at Sun Life to automate tasks. The difference is that API (Application Programming Interface) streamlines the experience by utilizing data from HR systems, building connectivity  with HR platforms for an automated benefits experience   Alternatively, RPA streamlines internal processes.

Here’s a billing example…

We’ve rolled out a Billing API with Workday that automatically calculates Sun Life premium, using data and information from both Sun Life and Workday, delivering accurate bills to Workday Clients every month. 

A self-bill summary statement is created using APIs by pulling information from Workday and calculating premium due through internal logic. The premium organization uses a bot that streamlines the application of premium using the summary statement the API creates. 

1 IBM, The Case for Robotics Process Automation (RPA) in Insurance, by Paula Williams, June 2021.

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In all states except New York, group insurance policies are underwritten by Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada (Wellesley Hills, MA). In New York, group insurance policies are underwritten by Sun Life and Health Insurance Company (U.S.) (Lansing, MI).

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