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Insurance companies no longer rely solely on traditional channels such as agents and brokers to reach consumers. They have also developed new, alternate channels to drive growth and tap into today’s digitally savvy consumers, who now expect the same intuitive experience from their insurance carriers as they do from their favorite mobile app. Even insurance agents are demanding better digital capabilities from insurers to increase their ease of doing business.
The life insurance industry in particular trails in digital maturity compared to its property/casualty insurance industry counterpart. That’s partially because life insurers have to deal with more distribution channels, client engagement models and legacy technology that affect the rate at which new digital strategies can be adopted.
As a result, to remain competitive and win a larger share of the customer’s wallet, life insurers must adjust their business and service models. If they are unable to adapt to the fast pace of digital change, they risk losing ground to more agile and innovative players that continue to surface.
Mobile: an underutilized channel in insurance
The use of mobile devices across the globe is at an all-time high. In many industries, mobile has become THE central access point for digital transactions because it provides a level of freedom and flexibility that wasn’t available just a little over decade ago. The beauty of mobile is that it allows us to complete transactions from anywhere—at home, in the office, or in transit.
Unfortunately, too many insurers fail to use their mobile channel. While the consumer world has been investing heavily in the hottest mobile tech, mobile has taken something of a back seat in insurance. From a mobile app perspective, many of the insurance apps available in the marketplace today simply don’t provide adequate mobile and customer service capabilities. In the Aite Group’s “Mobile Apps in Life Insurance: An Underutilized Channel” report, senior analyst Samantha Chow relates that less than 20 percent of the top 50 life insurance carriers have a mobile app for their life insurance policy holders. Insurers that do offer a mobile app, “have done so in a half-baked attempt at checking the box that says, “mobile app done” without providing any value to the consumer or the life insurance carrier.” For mobile-first consumers, this translates into a very frustrating experience because the lack of feature-rich mobile capabilities forces them to use another channel (e.g., online portal or call center) to complete the desired action.
Mobile challenges (and opportunities)
Aite Group report points out four key challenges that the insurance industry is facing when it comes to mobile. Overcoming these challenges is critical to executing an effective mobile strategy.
- E-Signature: capturing legal intent and automating workflows for businesses processes such as new policy applications and the acceptance of account and beneficiary changes.
- Audit Trails: capturing a detailed log with respect to the transaction: e.g., who signed, in what order, when and where, to demonstrate compliance for audit reasons and to defend against legal disputes, should they occur.
- Legacy Integration: integrating with disparate systems to enable an automated straight-through process.
- Mobile App Security: authenticating users and securing the mobile app itself (and the underlying data and digital transactions) to proactively protect against attackers.
Even in insurance, every application is vulnerable to a cyberattack, exposing the user and the business to unlimited data loss potential. Without adequate application protection, hackers have full control of anyone’s application session. Applications can be better protected when they possess self-protection capabilities built into their runtime environments. Runtime application self-protection (RASP) technology guarantees the integrity of your mobile app and protect the underlying consumer data and digital transactions from fraudsters. RASP essentially wraps around your mobile app’s code to create a “shield” against foreign code injection, and a critical technology to consider when securing your mobile apps.
Mobile: not just another sales channel
An effective mobile channel strategy involves more than just a mobile app for consumers. Mobile is a new way of solving traditional challenges in the insurance industry. For example, insurance agents in the field can engage with their clients and complete transactions in real time using a tablet. The bottom line is that mobile shouldn’t be thought of as just another sales channel; it is an engagement channel because its goal is to increase customer interaction and loyalty, and decrease churn rates.
If your mobile experience includes paper and pen-and-ink signatures at any point during the transaction, it isn’t a fully digital one. As insurance carriers increasingly embrace improving the total customer experience as part of their digital transformation projects, mobile is naturally moving up in priority and the ability to engage clients via mobile is now considered a requirement in order to create an omnichannel experience for consumers.