Now shopping for insurance is simpler than ever. Just speak up. Liberty Mutual Insurance has launched the first insurance-focused service for Amazon’s Alexa, a voice-controlled device that plays music; provides news, sports, directions and other information, and even controls lights and appliances.

Liberty Mutual’s service offers insurance from its Liberty Mutual and Safeco brands. The insurer says this makes it the “only insurance carrier enabling consumers to navigate the insurance process simply by using their voice.”

Alexa, the voice service that powers Amazon’s Echo, provides capabilities, or skills, that enable customers to interact with devices in a more intuitive way using voice. The new Safeco and Liberty Mutual Alexa skill will grant users instant, voice-controlled access to get a quote through Liberty Mutual or direct them to a Safeco-appointed independent agent, along with other automated services during the insurance selection process.

An Echo device sells for about $180.

“We are redefining how auto and homeowners shop for and learn about insurance,” said James MacPhee, executive vice president and chief operating officer, U.S. Consumer Markets, for Liberty Mutual Insurance. “Alexa presents a unique opportunity to have a vocal presence in consumers’ homes, providing additional value and ease, and allowing a new connection to be made between insurance providers and consumers.”

Echo has seven microphones so that it hears commands from across the room and over music playing.

The Safeco “Insurance Advisor” skill for Alexa is available now. It provides access an “insurance glossary” with insurance terminology; locates a nearby agent to obtain a quote on insurance and contacts an independent insurance agent to get answers to questions.

The Liberty Mutual skill for Alexa will be available this fall and will allow consumers to obtain an auto insurance estimate by interacting with the Liberty Mutual “Guestimator” tool via voice and obtain direct access to Liberty Mutual’s online resource, MasterThis, which includes advice on preparing for a roadside emergency or moving into a new home.

Technology research firm Gartner Inc. has predicted that by 2018, a full 30 percent of interactions with technology will be through “conversations” with smart machines.

Amazon says developers have released more than 3,000 skills for Alexa, the cloud-based virtual assistant behind Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, Amazon Fire TV, Amazon Tap, and other Alexa-enabled devices. The company said new ones include skills from Food Network and GE Appliances, with Yahoo Sports Fantasy Football, Bloomberg, and What to Expect When Expecting due by the end of the month.

Source: Liberty Mutual

*This story appeared previously in our sister publication Insurance Journal