Among the top 100 life insurers, the number offering mobile applications to producers has doubled to 27 since 2011, according to “Mobile Technology For The Life Insurance Producer: Is Agent Mobile Technology On The Move Yet?” a white paper from Celent. Among them, 32 percent offer individual policyholder apps.
“Banks and other financial services companies have jumped heavily into mobile technology,” said Karen Monks, analyst with Celent’s Insurance Group and author of the report. “Many insurers have begun the move to mobile, but many have not. Insurers can no longer sit by and let mobility evolve without taking part. Insurers must catch up if they are to meet the demands of their producers and consumers, who are both increasingly open to a wide variety of contact points.”
The report examines the functionality offered to life insurance producers from the top 100 life insurers, as well as Celent’s expectations for what next-generation functionality is likely to be, and where insurers should concentrate.
Celent said most life insurers are concentrating on developing producer apps for tablets, as producers view them as useful tools in meetings, presentations, client account updates, creating illustrations and completing electronic applications. However, the apps have not yet become catalysts to help recruit producers. Growth in smart device sales and use by customers and producers are expected to make the mobile channel more attractive, however, and a potential recruiting asset for life insurers and agencies.
The top 100 life insurers, by direct written premium, appear to be developing apps for consumers, policyholders and agents in equal proportion.
“Near term, we expect this trend to continue as insurance companies grapple with improving customer experience and helping producers improve sales,” Celent said. “Celent’s past research has found that when it comes to automating the front end sales process, life insurance companies have been slow to grab the reins. However, recent data shows that a change is happening and life insurance companies are realizing success can be found in a compromise: finding a way to leverage the efficiencies that technology can bring, and that many consumers expect, while still maintaining a high-touch, personal connection.”
Celent said there are several trends provoking interest and investment in producer apps for life insurers:
Celent said quotes, illustrations and apps are getting more attention as insurers improve straight-through processing, due to heightened interest in reducing the cost of obtaining new business.
“Smart mobile devices and apps continue to gain momentum, especially as customers use smart devices to monitor their investments,” Celent said. “The increase in the number of mobile apps offered to producers has increased twofold in the top 100 life insurers. Celent believes that in the longer term, producer apps and smart mobile device support only increase in popularity and become a more integral part of the technology tools life insurance companies are using to retain and recruit life insurance producers.”
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