A change in consumer preference to mobile has led Esurance to focus on mobility as focal point of interaction with customers, according to the insurer's VP of homeowner products, Jeffrey Ill.

Esurance's new approach involves expanding its online offerings to mobile while developing new products for smartphones. As an example, the insurer released two mobile applications for policyholders in June: a mobile version of its usage-based insurance offering, DriveSense, and a DIY (do-it-yourself) Home Inspection app for homeowners.

Both applications offer great benefits to the customer, Esurance says. Home Inspection allows subscribers to assess and upload videos of their home themselves in as little as 25 minutes. DriveSense, on the other hand, rewards users for safe driving with personalized discounts on premiums.

"Our market research tells us mobile is how consumers want to do business,” said Ill. “Our brand in particular deals with modern technology so it’s the very next step in terms of what we need to be doing."

While DriveSense already existed online, Esurance’s Home Inspection app was built from scratch over a 15 month period, Ill added. The carrier originally submitted patents for the app in 2012, but wanted to increase its home insurance customer base before starting development. Work on Home Inspection began in the months after the roll out Esurance’s first home insurance product in Oct 2013.

“The Home Inspection app provides more interaction points with customers and assures that we have the latest information about their home,” Ill said. “We will add more features to it going forward.”

Esurance has no other ongoing mobile projects to disclose, according to a company spokesperson. However, the insurer views mobile as an efficient way in the future for its customers to manage their policies, store insurance cards and submit photo or video claims.

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