While the outsourcing market for application development in mobile devices is still considered green, it's already clear that insurers will need to look outside the industry for innovation in order to keep up. Companies from all corners of the private sector are seeking developers working with smart phone- and tablet-specific capabilities in fresh ways.

Case in point, Progressive spotted innovative capabilities in a neighboring industry, and now its customers can receive real-time quotes and instant binding for coverage via images captured and submitted using an iPhone app. Progressive accomplished this by reaching out to Mitek Systems Inc., a provider of software that captures and reads data from mobile devices using proprietary technology, had gained traction by fulfilling the business possibilities mobile image capture offers, particularly in banking, where demand for mobile depositing has soared as of late.

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