Self-service isn’t a fad – it’s the preferred way of doing business for an increasing number of consumers.
Got a few items at the grocery store or a big-box retailer? Skip the line and use self-checkout. Some restaurants use tablets to display menus that let diners input their own orders. And most of us have used apps to do everything from buying plane tickets and hotel reservations to snagging a table at a popular local eatery.
One industry where mobile adoption has lagged is the insurance industry. Although we definitely are seeing an uptick in business from this segment, the industry has struggled to shake off its suit jacket and button-down shirt reputation.
I recently ran across an EY white paper that accurately summed up the core reasons the insurance industry is turning to mobile apps. They include extending business services, attracting new clients through self-serve options and modernizing tools to increase agent and policyholder satisfaction.
Those tools also can help insurance company agents and employees work more efficiently. Let’s imagine you’ve been in a car accident. Would it be easier to obtain paper copies of the accident report, print out photos of your car and mail them? Or would it be easier to open an app that lets you photograph the accident report and your car, sending them electronically for processing? Which one saves the policyholder and the company time and money?
The insurance industry has been reticent to widely adopt mobile for good reason: the industry deals with sensitive personal and financial data. Many of these companies have been around for decades and still are using legacy information systems that must interact with cutting-edge apps.
As an information technology solutions partner, Pyramid does not believe that one size fits all. There is no one solution that every company needs. Insurance is no different. That’s why before any proposal is presented, we sit down with the key stakeholders, to determine their goals, their IT strengths and weaknesses, and how their business process works.
We recently worked with an insurance underwriter on an app that allowed policyholders to input information and view it. That’s a step in the right direction, but what if the company had allowed customer to do more, like check the status of a claim, pay a bill, or shop for related products? These scenarios are more in line to where the industry should be headed.
Transmitting the specific details of a customer’s policy, taking payments and recording sensitive information such as Social Security numbers and medical details cause many insurance companies to pause when looking to adopt mobile strategies. That’s certainly understandable in an industry where reputation means everything.
But many insurance companies are trailblazers, developing mobile apps that allow consumers to do such things as manage their policies, start or track a claim, pay a bill and inventory their possessions.
In addition to security and governance issues, insurance companies also are rightly concerned with proper credentialing of users and how to connect disparate systems to deliver the right information at the right time. Finally, the companies must deliver a strong user experience to customers. That requires the development of apps that not only look good, but also perform well, delivering accurate information quickly and in a way that does not slow the mobile device or drain its batteries.
Getting past those bottlenecks can be a challenge, which is why companies turn to Pyramid for help. We’re mobile experts who have deep knowledge of the insurance industry and the leading development and testing tools and frameworks. Give us a call. We’d be happy to help.