Iowa-based Businessolver unveils new electronic personal assistant

An Iowa-headquartered benefits technology company recently unveiled its latest new product, an electronic personal assistant named Sofia.


An Iowa-headquartered benefits technology company recently unveiled its latest new product, an electronic personal assistant named Sofia.

The new product, introduced at the 2017 HR Technology Conference & Expo in Las Vegas, aims to add greater personalization and real-time benefits support for members using the Benefitsolver platform, the company said.

"Sofia will support employees in answering questions about their benefits and enrollment related to COBRA, Dependent Verification, and general benefits," Rae Shanahan, the company's chief strategy officer, told Iowa Business Daily. Businessolver is based in West Des Moines.

"With Sofia’s AI and machine-learning technology, she’ll become smarter as she engages with people and data," Shanahan added. "Eventually she’ll be able to answer more complex questions about real-time Benefitsolver data. Sofia also gives our Benefit Specialists more time to focus on resolving more difficult member queries or issues, rather than the more transactional queries."

Businessolver's Seattle-based applied-data science team spent a year developing and testing Sofia so it was ready for launch ahead of annual enrollment. This is traditionally two weeks during October or November when companies allow employees and dependents to choose or change their benefits.

“Most of our clients hold their annual enrollment period somewhere between mid-October and mid-November,” said Sony Sung-Chu, Businessolver’s head of applied data science and formerly a business intelligence manager at Amazon.

“Knowing that’s the time of year when employees have the most questions about their benefits, Sofia can provide additional support to our clients and their members at that critical time, in a way that’s fast, easy, and accessible.”

Sofia provides live text-to-text response for employees using the Benefitsolver platform or Businessolver’s mobile app.

An employee could ask a particular question such as whether a spouse has medical coverage. Sofia will reply with an automated response. Transcripts of the back and forth will be documented and saved.

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