21 November 2019
Southern Cross Health Society
today launched an artificial intelligence (AI)-powered digital assistant, operated by UneeQ’s Intelligent Digital Human
Platform, to empower Kiwis to make the best decisions when it comes to their health insurance.
’ has joined Southern Cross Health Society’s team as a virtual crew member to help Kiwis with finding information about
Southern Cross Health Society Chief Executive Officer Nick Astwick says the launch of an interactive avatar is another
way in which the organisation is future proofing its purpose to empower Kiwis to live their healthiest lives.
“Aimee will play a pivotal role in helping us to be there for our members 24/7, and deliver more value to them right
when they need it.”
The launch of a digital human by New Zealand’s largest health insurer also signals its commitment to technological
innovation in shaping the future of the sector.
Astwick says unlike buying a new phone, for example, decisions around health insurance feel more personal.
“Other industries in New Zealand like banking and retail have been working with digital humans but the way a consumer
seeks and values information about products in those sectors is vastly different.
“We understand that when it comes to health insurance, people can feel quite vulnerable and emotions come into play.
People often need reassurance they are making the right choices for themselves and their families and we’ve designed
Aimee with this in mind.
“Like all of our customer contact team, Aimee is empathetic, warm, natural and trustworthy,” says Astwick.
Aimee will initially focus on answering common questions such as what the value of health insurance is and how the
health system works, as well as providing easy-to-understand information about insurance-specific terms like
It’s expected that longer term, as she learns from conversations and better understands people’s needs, Aimee will
provide support and guidance in response to more in-depth questions.
Southern Cross Health Society employees were heavily involved in the creation of their new colleague, including deciding
on her gender, age, facial features and personality, says Astwick.
“We set out to create a digital human that was purposefully distinctive to Southern Cross. When it came down to what
qualities resonated the most and what our people wanted, we landed on an appearance that we believe reflects New Zealand
today. We have had anecdotal feedback that Aimee looks like someone they know and we believe that familiarity will help
Believed to be the first health insurance company in the world to launch a digital human, Southern Cross used UneeQ’s
Intelligent Digital Human Platform to design, build and deliver their digital experience. This includes brand-elements
brought to life through personality, face, appearance and voice.
Innovative technology has been instrumental in the development of Aimee’s voice which uses a customised synthesised
version of a human voice that is recorded in a studio. It is believed to be one of the first times this technology has
been used in New Zealand.
UneeQ Chief Executive Officer Danny Tomsett says encouraging customers to self-serve via digital channels increases
efficiency and can drive down cost, but people are wired for connection.
“UneeQ can create digital humans that listen, speak, show empathy and communicate in the way only humans could before.
Everything from their unique appearance to their personalities are co-designed to create the most positive, lasting
impact on users.
“We are so excited to be working with Southern Cross Health Society to bring their vision for Aimee to life,” says
Anyone can interact any time with Aimee
on desktops, tablets and mobile phones.