Conventional wisdom says that insurance companies are moving into mobile technology to set up a direct channel with today's smartphone-crazy customer base. That's a big part of it, sure, but insurers are also thinking about the needs of their agents and brokers.
Close to a third of the 53 life insurance companies surveyed by LIMRA currently have some sort of mobile initiative in place, and another third plan to launch an effort. Among this group, almost nine in 10 do so to meet growing producer demands and provide better support services. A quarter listed it as the top reason for adopting mobile technology into their business strategy.
In addition, the study also concludes that insurance companies will ultimately be favoring websites over apps. The belief is that as tablets become more popular, mobile websites will provide a better viewing experience that is more cost effective than mobile apps offer. In addition, consumers are less likely to download an app for insurance since they will not use it often enough.
In my discussions with insurance IT managers, there is concern that IT and development departments will be stretched too thin attempting to generate, maintain and update apps for a variety of different platforms, from iOS for iPhones to Windows Mobile to Android to Blackberry.
Where will this technology be deployed? Most of the life insurers look to integrate this technology into their sales and prospecting processes. Earlier LIMRA findings support this: the number of producers using mobile devices in their practices nearly doubled from 2008 to 2010.
Joe McKendrick is an author, consultant, blogger and frequent INN contributor specializing in information technology.
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