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September 23, 2016

The Time to Adopt Mobile Was Yesterday

Summary:

Most insurers have a mobile app, but 20% rate the customer experience as a six or below on a 10-point scale. It's time to get serious.

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Insurance companies across a wide range of offerings (health, auto, home) report they can benefit from investing in their mobile strategy — and yet they are not all prioritizing their digital transformations. According to the 2016 The State of the Mobile Experience report, 89% of insurance decision makers understand the need for a mobile experience and plan to invest in mobile this year. To date, 89% of insurance companies have a mobile website, and 74% have a mobile app. However, 20% of companies with an existing mobile presence rate their existing experience as a six or below on a 10-point scale. It is time insurance decision makers look the issue in the face and get emotionally committed to making some serious (and potentially hard) changes to create new value.

With a rising millennial generation primed to make insurance choices for the first time, providers must have a digital mindset with a high emphasis on mobile. Millennials lack strong loyalty for one provider over another. Though millennial customers are the generation most likely to be disengaged from their primary carrier in general, they are more than twice as likely to purchase insurance policies online. In other words, if you want to capture user engagement from millennial customers, the only strategy that is likely to work is digital.

It’s not just millennials, either. While younger generations may have a clearly expressed desire for mobile solutions, older generations have also become accustomed to these offerings. All insurance customers benefit from the ease and efficiency of a well-designed mobile experience.

The time for your digital transformation is now.

What’s the Deal with Insurance Providers?

As an industry, insurance has been historically slow to adopt mobile technologies — for a wide variety of reasons.

See also: What Millennials Demand as Customers  

For agent and business-to-employee (B2E) scenarios for account management, insurance decision makers list an aversion to change (65%) and a lack of comfort with mobile devices (39%) as major barriers. They also fear losing customer touchpoints (43%) if they enable their workforce to interact through a mobile app.

Insurance providers report that major obstacles with technology (34%), budget (24%) and prioritization (21%) prevent them from providing their policyholders with a strong mobile experience in their B2C scenarios. As the industry evolves and customers expect faster, more tech-friendly customer service and user experiences, industry leaders cannot afford to live in the past.

Though insurance is an age-old industry, companies looking to outpace competitors and find long-term success must offer a strong digital and mobile experience — fast.

Turning Obstacles Into Opportunities (Mobile Solutions)

The best way to offset the industry’s aversion to quick change is to clearly articulate mobile’s unique ability to address common insurance pain points and build a consistent experience across all digital platforms. For all parties involved in the insurance equation — customers (policyholders), employees (insurance providers) and third-party agents and contractors — a well-crafted digital experience that is focused on the user journey is the key.

When asked about their customers, insurance decision makers most commonly note issues of speed and information. 60% say customers lack access to necessary information when they need it, and more than half (55%) feel customers are not receiving assistance in a timely fashion. Adding to these pain points, 30% of insurance influencers feel customers have no way to retrieve the status of a claim or policy, and 26% lack communication from agents.

See also: Maturing Use of Mobile in Insurance  

Employees face similar roadblocks, in terms of accessing information as well as internal and customer interactions. Insurance providers believe their employee’s biggest pain points are working across departments to sell and manage policies (45%), handling too many different policies and claims (42%) and not having access to information in the field (42%). Not being able to register new customers or submit claims from the field (28%) and a lack of communication from policyholders (26%) were other top perceived concerns.

All these problems are easily remedied with the right strategy.

For example, mobile offerings like processing a payment, account management and alerts/notifications make it easier for policyholders to manage and update their existing insurance policy. Likewise, a strong mobile app and website enable customers to access claims and assistance, policy quotes and live chat with customer care departments from anywhere, at any time.

The same can be said for insurance providers. Armed with mobile technologies, agents and claim representatives can expedite their administrative duties and access needed content and information in the field. Mobile solutions also give insurance employees better access to predictive sales and customer demographic information, both of which enable stronger, more targeted insurance outreach. With the right digital solutions providing better communication channels and more value, the touchpoints that insurance firms are concerned about losing can instead become strengthened relationships between agents and policy-holders.

Kicking Mobile Adoption Into High Gear

Mobile apps and websites can make both customers’ and insurance employees’ lives easier. Yet, just because something is good for us, it does not always mean we use it. That seems to be the main struggle for insurance companies today. Insurance providers know that mobile solutions work and that customers want them. In fact, of those companies planning to invest in mobile in 2016, 77% will do so in reaction to customers’ expressed desire for mobile experiences. Similarly, two-thirds (62%) plan to invest in preparation for a mobile-driven future. Yet there’s still resistance to mobile adoption.

To abet concerns and misconceived reservations, insurance companies must engineer their digital and mobile offerings to provide value to their users throughout their journey while maintaining the needed security and compliance restrictions built into their legacy systems.

See also: How to Protect Your Mobile Data  

Luckily, insurance companies can address most employee and user concerns in tandem. By providing agents with greater utility via mobile capabilities, insurance decision makers can, in turn, improve the experience and satisfaction of everyday users. It is time for insurance firms to be active, rather than reactive, about their digital strategies and to stop waiting for customers to tell them when they are dissatisfied.

Instead, put mobile at the top of the list for investment and start taking advantage of all the new opportunities digital can create in the insurance industry.

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About the Author

Stephanie Trunzo is the Chief Digital Officer and COO for PointSource, where she has helped doubled revenue year over year 3 years running, making the Inc 5000 the last two consecutive years. Trunzo has been instrumental in reinventing this IBM Premier Business Partner into a top mobile creative force.

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