The insurance industry uses just 20 percent of the potential of mobile apps to better serve clients and increase market appeal, according to a new report from research company MyPrivateBanking. For its report, "Mobile Apps for Insurance 2012" the firm analyzed user-friendliness, quality of the content, functionality and integration of other media of the mobile applications of the 30 large insurance companies worldwide. More than 70 insurance apps were analyzed according to 35 criteria and across the business segments of auto, health and life/pensions insurance.

The top-ranked insurers, based on a 100-point scale, are:

Combined Auto-, Health- and Life Insurance Apps

Rank

Company

Total Points

1

AXA

61

2

Aegon

52

3

Aviva

50

 

Auto Apps

Rank

Company

Total Points

1

State Farm

72

2

Allstate

70

2

Geico

70

2

Vienna Insurance

70

 

 

 

Health Insurance Apps

Rank

Company

Total Points

1

Humana

78

2

Aetna

62

2

Blue Cross

62

 

 

 

Life Insurance/Pension Apps

Rank

Company

Total Points

1

Humana

78

2

Aetna

67

3

AIA

62

3

Aviva

62

3

AXA

62

 

 

 

“Today, we are seeing only the first beginnings of the mobile app revolution,” says Steffen Binder, research director of MyPrivateBanking.

The firm identified many shortcomings in the app strategies of most insurers. Ninety percent of all apps analyzed are only available in one country. And, the majority of apps don't offer user-friendly features such as a renew policy function, or ones that would improve the claim process. Only about 50 percent of auto insurance companies provide an “ask for quote” or similar feature. For health and life insurers, the rate is even lower, at about 20 percent. The firm also found that 62 percent of the insurance apps are only available for iPhone despite the fact that Android devices have a higher market share than the iPhone worldwide. 

“The challenge for insurance companies will be to offer, across multiple access channels, a platform that allows clients and others to make claims, get quotes, receive critical information together with advice and be entertained, wherever and whenever they wish. Therefore, personal interaction, telephone, online channels for insurers and mobile media will increasingly merge into a unified service platform."

MyPrivateBanking recommends insurers take the following steps to make mobile apps a core tool:

Consistent global app strategy: no more scattering of apps that seem to appear randomly in just a few countries. Instead, a consistent approach is required to rollout the best apps across many countries. The apps should be consistent in branding, security and convenience across different markets worldwide.

Insurance apps, both on a stand-alone basis as well as a company's portfolio of apps, must have a clear strategic focus. For each app, it has to be clear how the app is integrated with other apps and media channels, and how it satisfies the needs of existing and potential new clients.

Features such as supporting claim submissions, asking for a quote, product and corporate information and any of a variety of advisory functions should be part of every insurance app portfolio. 

Insurers should concentrate efforts and set priorities. This will avoid work duplication, late deliveries and, over time, implementing a lot of mediocre apps instead of a few superior ones.

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