24 Sep / Author: SK Tirumala
This Simple Step Can Truly Change The Game
A Mobile App for your Policyholders is Beyond Overdue!
Digital transformation is revolutionizing the insurance industry, which is quickly catching up with the financial services and banking industry in establishing a digital connection with their customers. By embracing mobile technology solutions, insurers are gearing up to provide similar self-service options for discerning customers to meet their rising service expectations. However, many insurers are still deliberating to launch their mobile app despite the apparent benefits and prefer to maintain their status quo with traditional touchpoints. It is not for lack of interest, but perhaps the lack of understanding of the full value a mobile channel can deliver to the organization. In this post, we revisit why it is beneficial for an insurance company to offer a mobile app to its personal lines customers, and examine the typical barriers that hinder the fruition of such a plan. The intent of this post is only to urge insurers who are falling behind to act soon, and close the ever-increasing gap in meeting customer expectations.
Apart from the apparent ease of use, competitive pricing formulated by data-backed business processes, customer’s preference for digital solutions and online engagement are the key factors that make mobile technology a dominant choice. The ease of access delivered by a mobile channel is unprecedented, and its growth across customer demographics is exponential, with multiple apps being launched, offering a variety of capabilities to the connected population. The huge popularity of the mobile channel is due to its ease of access that allows companies to piggyback on this advantage and offer their services anytime, anywhere.
Insurers who have had the foresight to adopt mobility early are already reaping significant benefits, such as:
- Improved efficiency of services, with enhanced productivity, increased customer reach and high levels of customer satisfaction.
- Better business outcomes with lower spend on the workforce, commissions, and fees, by directly connecting with customers through timely alerts and messages.
- Expanded reach beyond the standard distribution network, improving visibility and driving market share.
- Access to big data for collection and analysis, with the ability to derive actionable insights and improve business processes as well as customer service.
- Reduced business risk due to improved capabilities for fraud detection, risk identification, and risk mitigation.
- Increased opportunities to upsell or cross-sell products and services, which are highly personalized, and features tailored to the needs and preferences of their customers.
- Improved customer engagement and two-way communication to generate brand loyalty and strengthen long-term relationships.
- Simplified access to policyholder services so as to obtain quotes, process policy renewals, or file a claim, and so on, and raise the bar for customer service.
- Access to management dashboards and reports, with a contextual analysis of results, predictive forecasting and comparison of performance across channels and against the competition.
- Capture pertinent customer behavior data from IoT and Telematics to develop tailored solutions and improve their pricing to remain competitive.
There are several perceived barriers to the development and implementation of a sound mobile strategy. More often than not, these barriers are self-fulfilling prophecies if not resolved quickly -
- Lack of Budget – Given the improvements in mobile technology, the cost of development and launch of a mobile app is almost negligible compared to the investments needed on core systems. The ROI delivered by the digital presence is enormous (see point above) making every other business case pale in comparison.
- Availability of Resources – Skills needed to develop a robust and rich mobile app is available in abundance in the technology services market. One must however be careful in the selection of those resources to ensure a robust design and architecture that allows scalability and flexibility for the future use of this channel.
- Poor Customer Adoption - This barrier is long gone with reports indicating that over 80% of the US population now owns a smartphone and leverages multiple apps every day. The insurer’s app will definitely see a rapid increase in adoption if the content and service is useful, productive, and delivers value to their customers.
- Know Your Customer (KYC) Issue – This can be a real issue especially when customer profiles are incomplete and inaccurate as a result of gaps in current core systems and onboarding processes. Launching a mobile app could in fact close these KYC gaps faster by collecting and validating data during sign-up and registration.
While all of the above points may inspire insurers who do not already have an app, to start their mobile journey, they must be cautious to not go to the other extreme of getting entangled with the need for a comprehensive digital roadmap for the company, before any action is taken. Taking such a position and direction could delay meeting basic and urgent expectations of the customer, and cost the company even more.
Getting started with app development even before all the i’s are dotted and t’s crossed, would be a no-regret move, as its natural that any digital blueprint would include development and launch of a mobile app, if not already done. Companies must certainly have a vision about the future, and get a technology roadmap in place which aligns with the corporate goals, but those are living documents and likely to change every year with new information and conditions. The mobile app features and services can enhance and change based on what the digital strategy would outline.
Pundits are already saying that the future of insurance is here in the form of personalized products and coverages, enhanced customer-service, big-data analytics and machine intelligence-enabled risk selection, tailored pricing, and so on.
Companies like Xemplar are paving the way with configurable solutions containing rich capabilities to catapult insurers into the connected world. Insurers that are falling woefully behind on their digital presence should consider “buy” versus the “build” to leapfrog ahead. Customer demands are real, compelling solutions exist, and the cost to change status quo is negligible compared to the significant returns that can be derived. Getting started as soon as possible is the easiest decision one could make in these challenging times.
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