Artificial intelligence enhances customer service in the BDAE Group

Improved efficiency thanks to AI: Insurance provider benefits from automated document processing

In our globalized world, where international travel has become the norm, spending time abroad can entail unforeseeable health risks. In such situations, the value of protection through an overseas health insurance policy is inarguable. In an effort to overcome the challenge of processing the numerous medical documents submitted by its customers, BDAE implemented an IT solution developed by Lufthansa Industry Solutions (LHIND) based on artificial intelligence (AI). This automated solution makes it possible to save time and devote greater attention to customers’ needs.

The customer

The BDAE Group specializes in developing and providing overseas health insurance cover. The acronym in its name stands for “Bund der Auslands-Erwerbstätigen” (literally: Association of People Working Abroad) and highlights the corporate group’s origins as an members association. Today, the BDAE Group offers an extensive range of insurance services for private and business customers, including international health insurance, accident insurance, liability insurance and legal protection insurance.

For the last 27 years, the BDAE Group has focused its activities exclusively on the topic of “living and working abroad”. Its international health insurance policies, which are valid around the world, are designed for people who spend time abroad for all manner of reasons – from emigrants and expats to globetrotters, digital nomads, pensioners and students.

In 2019 and 2020, the BDAE Group was named the best specialist insurance provider by the F.A.Z. Institut. BDAE also received the “Outstanding Service” seal from the F.A.Z. Institut in 2021, followed by the title of industry winner in the “Outstanding Customer Loyalty” category in 2022. The same year, BDAE was presented with the Assekuranz Award in recognition of its unique concept. Together with its parent company MSH International, which operates on a global scale, the BDAE Group serves over 500,000 expats in 194 countries.

At a glance: LHIND services to the BDAE Group:
  • Provision of a solution for automated processing of invoices for medical treatment from other countries
  • Training of an AI model and cloud-based provision
  • Integration of the AI tool in BDAE customer systems
  • Operation of all critical components
  • Data protection
  • Cloud security
  • Provider communication
  • Support

The challenge

As an international health insurance provider, the BDAE Group faces a clear challenge: processing the many documents submitted by its customers for medical services accessed abroad. The form, format and language of these documents all vary, which complicates automated processing.

However, whether these documents are provided in paper or digital form, manually processing the information requires considerable effort and means high opportunity costs. In the past, the BDAE Group’s employees had to examine each document by hand and input the relevant data into the SAP systems. Not only was this process time-intensive, it also meant prolonged waiting times for customers, which negatively impacted on customer satisfaction.

The company resolved to find technological solutions to address the issues of manual processing. BDAE turned to Futurised, the LHIND sales partner specializing in banking and insurance sector. Together with LHIND, which provided input and ideas in relation to artificial intelligence, BDAE was able to implement a solution that not only automated processes but also relieved the burden of repetitive, routine tasks on employees. As a result, its employees can now devote more time to addressing customers’ needs.

The solution

The aim of the project was to use artificial intelligence to automate the process of recording, categorizing and processing documents submitted by policyholders. LHIND therefore tailored an AI solution called InfoExtractAI to the BDAE Group’s specific needs and implemented it in practice.

The InfoExtractAI tool developed by LHIND combines two key technologies to optimize the digitalization of physical documents. In the first step, scanned documents are analyzed using optical character recognition (OCR). Not only does this visualize the text contained within the image, it also creates a searchable, machine-readable dataset. This technology has already been used in various forms for some time and has proven its value on the market. In the second step, a natural language processing (NLP) algorithm is applied to the text produced in the first step to generate context from the raw data and categorize the information.

With the help of the AI solution, the text in the document can now be extracted, categorized and allocated. The AI is able to understand different languages, identify the correct currency and identify the relevant amounts.

In this context, data protection and privacy are a top priority, with strict security protocols ensuring that all sensitive data is kept within the BDAE Group’s secure environment.

Technologies and tools used
  • Artificial intelligence (optical character recognition, natural language processing)
  • AI as a Service (InfoExtractAI)
  • Microsoft Azure Cloud
  • Python and Docker
  • Microsoft Azure Form Recognizer and Azure OpenAI

“It is essential that our policyholders abroad can rely on our claim settlement team to reimburse healthcare costs as quickly as possible. Thanks to our innovation-driven partnership with Lufthansa Industry Solutions and Futurised, we are now able to fulfill our performance promise considerably more swiftly. At the same time, it’s wonderful to see how AI is making life easier for people living abroad.”

Philipp Belau
Managing Director BDAE Group