While mobile devices have become ingrained in our culture, both personally and professionally, consumers still aren’t making strong use of insurance company apps, according to a survey by Lightico, which found that mobile is among the least used way to perform sales and claims functions.
A survey revealed that only 10.5% of claims are made through phone apps, and the bulk (44%) come through phone calls. Just under 30% are started on a website and 7.5% are head-to-head. Similar sales results were seen, with only 11.5% complete on the mobile app. Telephone calls were the most common method of closing sales (39.2%), while 23% were terminated in face-to-face meetings.
Eitan Morgenstern, director of media communications for Lightico, explains that we have a wide range of issues. One of the most important is the fact that consumers do not deal with insurance companies on a regular basis like other players in the financial services sector, such as their banks. In contrast, adoption tends to be lower for P&C industry applications.
“When your car is fully assembled or your house is flooded, you don’t want to start trying to download an app, sign up, check yourself in via email and all that kind of mess. You want to talk to someone now,” Morgenstern told PropertyCasualty360.com. The trick to making mobile claims truly work is a shared experience where the agent on the phone can quickly connect through a non-app portal to get what they need to help an out customer – whether that’s a picture of the damage or other driver’s insurance info.This really offers the best of both worlds; And his sympathy for the convenience and power of a portable device.”
He points out that the story is the same for sales, explaining: “Brokers still need to communicate with customers to sell policies, but the bureaucratic and technical side of things have to go hand in hand on their mobile devices.”
Are applications the way forward?
However, since most policyholders only interact with the insurance company once or twice a year, or in the event of a claim, it can be difficult to push the adoption process forward.
Noting that consumers are keeping storage for their mobile devices near and dear, Morgenstern says insurers should instead aim to use the features that come in nearly every mobile device’s stock.
“Basically texting and the (mobile) browser are really the way to go,” he says, explaining that the process is as simple as sending a link that opens in the browser, which is “an easy place to get things done.” This includes signing documents and reviewing policy changes.
The ability to get things done faster while making it easier for policyholders are the main benefits to insurers and brokers with this approach. However, Morgenstern warns that not all consumers are going to dig into the mobile experience. This makes it extremely important for policyholders to have easy access to an agent if they wish to speak with someone directly.
The challenge of increasing the participation of policy holders through mobile is twofold. The first step is to get the technology right, according to Morgenstern.
“Digital transformation has been talked about for decades, but customers are less concerned with the platforms, but rather how their digital experience compares to that of Amazon,” he says. “It doesn’t matter if it’s insurance or buying a trip – the Amazon experience is the standard we need to pay for and that means putting the customer experience front and center. The good thing is that a good digital experience can save insurance companies and brokers money and increase retention. …and that doesn’t mean a long process to upgrade your core. Instead, through APIs and SaaS technology, insurers and brokers can upgrade key parts of their technology in months and often weeks.”
The second part of the equation is more consumer awareness.
“Many people are pleasantly surprised when they can sign up or renew the policy with just a few clicks on their phone. Better awareness will increase the use of this channel and as a reward to make consumers happy – even when making a claim,” he explains.