With Amazon.com Inc.’s Alexa service and related devices to be available in Canada in December, Manulife Financial Corp. has developed a capability for the voice-activated digital assistant that will allow plan members to check the balances of their group benefits coverage.

Starting in December, through any Alexa-enabled device, all plan members who have mobile service turned on can access the Manulife benefits skill from the Alexa skills store and check the balances of their medical, vision care and dental accounts with a simple question.

Read: Sounding Board: Benefits industry should prepare for chatbots

“For example, you would say, ‘Alexa, ask Manulife benefits how much do I have left for massage therapy?’ or, ‘Alexa, ask Manulife benefits what is Jamie’s balance for glasses repair?’ and then you will have that information. Alexa will respond with the data,” says Xavier Debane, vice-president of innovation and business development at Manulife.

While the Manulife benefits skill can so far only check balances in the key health benefits categories, Debane says the company is looking for it to do more in the future, such as the ability to submit claims simply by speaking to Alexa.

“It’s on our road map. We have a number of things on the road map. I can’t tell you when, but we have a number of things with regards to the benefits and even beyond benefits on how we continue to enhance the customer experience through those at-home platforms like Amazon Alexa,” he says.

Read: Time for plan sponsors to embrace digital innovations in health care

Copyright © 2018 Transcontinental Media G.P. Originally published on benefitscanada.com

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