Consumers are eager for a better customer experience, and while things are improving in the insurance space, the gap between the haves and the have-nots is getting deeper and wider. This is an especially pressing issue for insurers because, fairly or unfairly, customer expectations are being raised by Internet retailers, banks and other financial services industries, which seem to have little trouble offering the ability to transact business, self-serve, review detailed account histories and customize communications methods, frequency and detail online.

If only it were that easy, right? Insurers face unique challenges in offering such contemporary experiences, including numerous, complex, geographically specific products, regulatory concerns, enormous customer bases and legacy systems that never were intended or designed to offer meaningful information to "civilians," much less to deliver it to tiny hand-held screens, which essentially didn't exist three years ago.

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