MLC Life deploys mental health support chatbot in Aussie-first launch

MLC Life Insurance Chatbot Wysa AI mental health

MLC Life Insurance has announced it will become the first Australian life insurer to offer its customers AI-guided mental health support as part of a new pilot with partner Swiss Re Reinsurance Solutions and mental health tech developer, Wysa.

The life insurer claims to also be the first in the world to integrate and offer its customers the Wysa Assure platform – a real-time mental health support app that uses conversational AI to provide therapeutic aid to customers.

The platform is promoted by Wysa as an all-in-one “wellness tracker, mindfulness coach, anxiety helper, and mood-boosting companion”.

An upgrade to the original Wysa platform, Wysa Assure leverages Swiss Re’s risk expertise and proprietary scoring system service, providing users with well-being scores to quantify their mental health status.

The AI chatbot is “central to the design of Wysa Assure”, built, MLC said, “on cognitive behavioural therapy principles”. It boasts that the platform is “clinically proven to improve symptoms of depression and anxiety”.

Wysa Assure is integrated into MLC’s self-care modules and MLC Life Insurance’s broader Vivo support networks, the life insurer’s wellness and health recuperation service. Users through the platform can also access built-in crisis escalation pathways to human care, which can be triggered during an AI interaction or by the user selecting an SOS feature.

“This innovative approach fosters proactive mental wellbeing management and encourages early support-seeking, avoiding worsening symptoms while offering a broader approach to crisis risk mitigation,” MLC said in a statement.

“We’re always looking for innovative ways to improve the total customer experience,” said MLC Life’s chief claims officer Andrew Beevors. “[That’s] why we’re proud to be pioneers in this space and to further complement our award-winning Vivo program.”

“We’re focused on delivering an industry-leading customer experience because we know how important our promise for life is to our customers, often at the most challenging times,” Beevors added. “Our ‘here for you’ philosophy means offering a personalised, caring and supportive response.”

MLC Life noted that the app prioritises user anonymity in compliance with data protection laws, which it said would “encourage customers to feel comfortable to open up”.