Insurtech Mobile & Online

Insurers: to app or not to app?

Insurers: to app or not to app? Photo: Patryk Dziejma, StockSnap
Written by Stewart McEwan

You should have a clear game plan before launching your insurance app, says Stewart McEwan.

With smartphones almost ubiquitous, service providers feel under pressure to develop customer apps. For insurers, apps can help improve service provision, but goals must be realistic and clear.

As per the latest Insurance Consumer Survey from Verdict Financial, 79% of consumers own a smartphone. With devices capable of delivering effective, convenient, and highly interactive services in the palm of one’s hand, the customer service benchmark has skyrocketed in recent years thanks in part to disruptive online brands such as Netflix and Uber.

The financial services space has been striving to keep up. Insurers looking to remain relevant have felt the need to develop an app, often without a clear game plan. Yet, insurance apps need to be developed with a set of realistic assumptions and goals:

  • Insurance products offer little in terms of easy touchpoints with customers. By extension, customers don’t want to feel ‘spammed’ by explicit marketing. Apps should focus on maximizing the quality, rather than quantity, of the opportunities to interact, thus make an impression worth talking about.
  • Very few insurance apps are ever likely to make consumers’ home screens. Explicitly insurance-based apps may only come close to this if the proposition is attractive, slick, and offers enticements to interact regularly. A strong set of relevant, additional, informational services will be needed, such as those offered by Metromile and Oscar.
  • However, not making home-screen grade doesn’t equate to failure. Next-level customer service and satisfaction can be provided through low-touch apps (a smooth claims process, for example). Yet, these apps may well need to be either very simple to download and use, or built to require limited hard drive space so as to remain installed for ‘if and when’.

– This article is reproduced with kind permission from Verdict Financial. Some minor changes have been made to reflect BankNXT style considerations. You can read more here. Photo: Patryk Dziejma, StockSnap

About the author

Stewart McEwan

Stewart McEwan is a senior analyst at Verdict Financial, specialising in general insurance. He is particularly interested in the new challenges the market faces in an online 'big data' world and growth in the innovative ideas, approaches, and disruptive players that are setting the pace in the industry.

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