New data from San Antonio-based USAA is helping quantify what many already expect – use of customer-facing mobile apps in insurance is exploding.

USAA says its suite of mobile tools was used 127 percent more by members in 2011 than in 2010. The specific tool charting the highest rate of growth was a banking app, USAA Deposit@Mobile, which recorded a 150-percent increase in usage over 2010, with roughly 7.7 million checks totaling $4.3 billion deposited via the app. The company also saw a spike in apps that help consumers shop for a new vehicle and auto insurance, which was used some 2.5 million times.

“Nearly half of all USAA members own a smartphone and by the very nature of their military jobs and mobile lifestyles, they need tools that allow them to help manage their finances from anywhere,” Todd Walthall, SVP of Channel Management at USAA said in a statement. “From paying bills or reporting an insurance claim, to shopping for a car or even a house, USAA apps are becoming a convenient destination for our members.”

Walthall added that the company expects to offer more mobile financial tools, including the introduction of a mobile wallet.

“USAA has just scratched the surface on maximizing the mobile experience for our members,” he said. “As one of the first financial institutions to allow consumers to make mobile deposits, we are now focusing on mobile payment solutions and personal budget management tools that will further help our members save time and money.”

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