Slideshow 9 Mobile Trends Insurers Can (and Should) Act On

  • April 17 2013, 12:19pm EDT
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The transformative potential of mobile is nothing new to insurers; according to Accenture's CIO Mobility survey from earlier this year, 84 percent of those surveyed said mobility would significantly improve customer interactions, and 83 percent said the technology would significantly affect their business. Nevertheless, while many insurers are already active in mobile on the consumer side, there's still much room for improvement when it comes to enterprise tools. Also, much back-office and field work is still done with paper and pencil before ever being logged into a computer system. And, according to Mobile Mutual, particularly when it comes to listening to the voice of the agent—providing agency-side tools to close the loop with customers and make employees more effective—insurers have the ability to enable competitive advantages by employing mobile. Therefore, Mobile Mutual has compiled a thorough checklist of essential functions and offerings for insurers trying to keep up with consumer demands.

1. Empower Your Sales Team

How do companies differentiate a commodity product, especially when most companies are offering similar services? Investing in mobile sales tools can create a competitive advantage by being able to better engage new and existing customers, as well as enabling dynamic scenarios and projects for major life events, which enable customers to explore on their own.

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2. Train and Transition New Talent

Onboarding new hires is costly and takes considerable time. Companies are looking to 1) improve training for the new generation, 2) attract new, younger talent, and 3) keep employees learning and engaged. Several companies are working on mobile training tools, incorporating social activities and gamified learning. Tablets are more approachable, accessible on the go and effective than desktop learning approaches.

3. Mobilize Core Services

Customers are demanding more and more services through mobile. To meet those demands, many quoting tools currently exist, as well as marketing apps. Insurers are investing in robust customer portals to provide more information to customers about existing services, and to enable them to track claims, get in touch with reps when needed, update policies with major life events, etc. Everything a customer can do online, they should be able to access on phone or tablet. And it should be made even more accessible, approachable and comprehensive.

4. Empower Customers with Self-Service Tools

Customers don't enjoy talking to service reps, plus, having all those reps is expensive. How can companies help customers help themselves? Customers are already looking to mobile for their basic needs, therefore, giving them the ability to file and adjust policies, track claims, research new services, locate providers, and request quotes, among other things, without ever having to talk to a service rep is a big advantage.

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5. Equip the Field Force with Better Tools

How do we make employees in the field more effective and less prone to error? Agents work everywhere—around the office, between meetings and events, in the neighborhood after a disaster; therefore, they need on-the-go access to company and customer data as well as streamlined tools to gather information and improve productivity/data accuracy.

6. Close the Loop with Customers

Customers need a way to quickly check in on their status and information, and salespeople/agents would like a way to maintain closer ties with clients. Mobile can help tighten the loop, enabling near-instant access to agents at any time. Right after an accident, customer can Facetime their agent. An aggregated text message service can help agencies send tailored answers to their customers at any time. These tools help tie together the sales/field force with the customers.

7. Attract New Customers

How can we use mobile to win over new customers? Mobile’s becoming a major research and acquisition tool, in addition to helping companies stay relevant. Some companies have deployed iPad kiosks at libraries, brought tablets to college campuses to book business, or built non-essential goodwill/marketing apps (e.g. Digital Locker by Allstate).

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8. Innovate with New Services

Insurance companies are quickly embracing customer-facing tech. What new services can they offer through mobile to attract more customers and drive new revenue? For an example, look into how USAA is using mobile to recreate accidents.

9. Provide Dashboards and Tracking Tools

Real-time insight into company performance and/or individual performance still eludes most of the industry. How can we better capture data and turn it into something relevant and easily consumable? Mobile dashboards are an easy way to access real-time data, view key metrics, set and manage goals, send personalized notifications and alerts, etc. In short, dashboards improve visibility at all levels.