The rocky road of mobile insurance
In a race to digitization, some insurers are now beginning to employ a strategic approach towards customer- and e mployee-centric mobile apps. Not a small task by any measure.
The rub is, more than one third of insurance companies have neither strategy, budget nor belief for mobile. Another 30% of insurers, in turn, are concerned about a clash between traditional and digital channels.
This is the first thing that struck us at Comarch while talking about mobile to over 50 leading European insurers. Our aim was to probe the current status and ask about the future of mobile technologies in the insurance realm. That’s how our study on the state of insurance in the mobile-first era came about. To conduct it, we joined forces with Efma.
Back to strategies, budgets, and beliefs – why such lack of enthusiasm? Our initial guesses were: firstly, insurance products seem too complex for most customers, so they need professional help from agents or brokers to buy insurance. Secondly, a big pain point of the insurance industry is the lack of frequent interaction with customers, making it hard to build engagement and loyalty. Not to mention being cautious is part of insurers’ DNA.
It doesn’t make things any easier that with so many new applications available each day, it is very hard to attract users’ attention to install a particular one and run it more than once. Let alone if it is an insurance app.
We wanted to get to the bottom of things though, so we kept digging. And, apart from some disillusionment with mobile, which seems to hold its ground among insurers these days, we have found many effective business cases of insurance services rendered via small screens – not only by the insurtechs, but incumbents as well. We also know the reasons for “no apps” approach. Security concerns or legacy system limitations are some of them.
But it’s not as bad as it seemed to be at first. Today, we can see the emergence of a new kind of products: short term protection, on-demand policies or usage-based insurance, all gaining fast in popularity. These products are based on customer habits and behavior, not the traditional underwriting rulebook.
It’s important because previous years have shown that traditional insurance products are often hard to implement in digital channels. The key to success lies in choosing products that will work when “mobilized” – so said 98% of our survey participants.
On one hand, industry-related mobile apps of today come with basic information on insurance products, up to core customer-focused operations like quoting, policy-issuing and claim-making. There are also “serious” mobile games for risk prevention awareness. The main focus of these apps is on helping the insured.
On the other hand, we have apps for adjusters, focused mostly on customer and policy information as well as claim and document management, and agents – coming with product information and customer details, which may be very useful before and during sales meetings. And more.
This all goes to show insurers have started to think about digital nomads and how to build relationships with them by creating the whole online-offline ecosystem which is crucial considering the extent to which both of these worlds are now intertwined.
Building effective multichannel platforms is currently a big necessity for insurers – so said 97% of those we asked. But the move from the product-centric to customer-centric universe is a tough racket involving a complete new strategy for many market players still struggling with old business models and legacy systems. One remedy is looking for partners to win new business, also outside the insurance ecosystem.
Another may be mobile. But only if it comes with a different approach to insurance sales focusing on flexible, short-term and on-demand products.
At the end of the day, it’s all about helping intermediaries get their job done, providing customers with more effective service and, last not least, attracting young talent to join.
If we place mobile in the appropriate business context - to solve real people’s problems - things can only get better.
To find out more, have a look at “Insurance in the mobile-first era”, a joint study conducted by Comarch and Efma. You’ll learn:
- How many insurers are currently offering - or working on - mobile apps, and in which areas those apps can be best applied
- Where the lack of strategy and belief for mobile come from
- What today's apps are mainly focused on
- Which insurance products are considered most prospective for the mobile channel
- How many insurers say they are happy with the results of deploying mobile apps for both customers and agents – and how many rate the apps as not living up to expectations