The economic crisis of the past few years has given P&C and life insurers new reasons to be competitive, and new reasons to be concerned. During this period, consumer spending on insurance dipped, while spending on personal technology reached an all-time high. In fact, experts say that we have entered an era that marks a turning point for consumer technology-for the first time, the combined shipment of smartphones and tablets is predicted to eclipse that of PCs, notes International Data Corp. (IDC), giving customers the power to access information and transact business at any time from any place. Just from 2010 to 2011, the number of mobile devices shipped is expected to increase from 305 million to 472 million, the company says.

"There is a greater awareness in the insurance industry that competition is based more on customer satisfaction," notes Kimberly Harris-Ferrante, distinguished analyst and VP at Gartner, "and consumer centrism is the hottest topic right now."

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