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Mobile: Changing The Way We Do Insurance

By Annie George

Posted on 14 Mar 12

As with all other sectors, the insurance industry is going mobile. We’re fast realizing that consumers are using their mobile phones as not only communication devices, but also to get information, shop, and consume media. Many access the Internet daily on their mobile phones to research products, check stock quotes and financial accounts, pay bills, and more.

What are companies doing to meet the demands of the mobile consumer? Insurers are engaging consumers via the mobile web for claims, bill paying, and policy quoting. In fact, there are many opportunities for insurance companies and agencies to use the mobile channel as part of a broader multichannel distribution strategy.

Progressive just released a new mobile app that allows anyone with a smartphone to get auto insurance quotes by taking a photo of their driver’s license. Called "Image Capture," the app is free and works with most mobile devices, including iPhones and smartphones that run on the Android operating system. Once downloaded and installed, consumers take a snapshot of their driver’s license, their auto’s vehicle identification number (VIN) or existing insurance ID card. The app scans the image for necessary information such as name and address.

Companies are also providing mobile apps to use when an accident occurs that include a GPS to register the exact location of a person’s vehicle, the ability for customers to take pictures at the scene, walking the customer through key steps at a time of stress, and providing access to the number of the customer’s insurance agent. By initiating the process at the crash site it can provide significant savings to the company. The insurer can oversee the towing of their vehicle and the destination (garage) where the vehicle will be taken.

What’s more, getting mobile quotes for term life insurance has been simplified as many insurance companies have dedicated apps allowing mobile users to access user-friendly interfaces. By simply inputting basic information such as age, occupation and health history, the information is transmitted to the company for processing, and a quote sent back to the potential customer usually in minutes. As a customer you would then be able to access all types of information, such as coverage information, premium due dates and more.

Health insurers are also providing apps for individuals, families and small businesses, to shop for health insurance using their smart phone. The “Better Health Insurance Finder” mobile application, for example, enables users to access individual and family health insurance plans from over 180 insurance carriers from all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

In addition, Aetna has recently released an enhancement of its existing iTriage app, which now allows users to research their symptoms, find a medical provider, and book an appointment. The app is part of the insurer's emerging CarePass platform, which aims to let policyholders share information across applications by using a single sign-on.