In the battle for market share in the defined contribution retirement plan space, insurers are expanding mobile and social media capabilities to help attract, retain and profitably serve clients, according to a new report from Novarica, a research and advisory firm focused on IT strategy.

Novarica’s annual Business and Technology Trends: Defined Contribution Retirement Plans report is based on the expertise of the firm’s staff, conversations with members of the Novarica Insurance Technology Research Council and solution providers.

The report provides an overview of defined contribution retirement plan business and technology issues for carriers, data about the marketplace and 39 examples of recent technology investments by insurers.

Among the key findings are that plan participants expect the same level of transactional capability from their mobile devices that they experience in the retail industry and other mobile friendly segments.

In addition, it shows that producers want carriers to provide access to clients’ plan information and insights via mobile and tablet devices; social media capabilities include not only posting, but managing compliance and driving engagement to promote broader financial planning conversations; and video has been effective as a tool for addressing the need of multilingual communications.

“Insurance carriers are now competing for defined contribution retirement plan dollars with asset management firms, banks and mutual fund providers,” said Rob McIsaac, principal at Novarica.

“All of these players have moved down-market to smaller and midsized firms, the traditional clientele of insurers offering retirement solutions,” McIsaac said. “As the pressure on fees increases, carriers are relying on technology to help drive down costs and attract new clients, while retaining existing clients and assets through improved insights and investment performance.”

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