Mobile Matters

Kevin Rice
Insurance Experts' Forum, January 21, 2014

Over the Thanksgiving weekend, I went shopping with my family to take advantage of some deals. I used my smartphone often, sometimes too much, and so did the rest of the shopping crowd. Some of the behaviors I observed fit into familiar patterns: browsing deals on other sites while in a store, scanning bar codes for price lookups, texting, and playing games while in line.  (I may, or may not, have done one or all of those.)

As a student of mobile trends, I analyzed the news stories coming in after the weekend.  One study reported that mobile-based activity was up significantly over last year for visits, page views, and mobile sales. Over the Black Friday weekend, it was reported that mobile accounted for 39.7 percent of all web traffic and 21.8 percent of all web sales, substantial increases over last year. Another trend is the pace at which mobile phones and tablets are connecting us online. According to an August eMarketer report, mobile is becoming a dominant platform for consuming media.

So, what does that mean to us in the insurance industry? We know that insurance is not an industry with high-volume mobile transactions, especially when you compare it to banking, financial services, retail, or gaming. An Allstate customer might go through the web or use the Allstate Mobile app once or twice a month to make a payment, look up information, or request a policy change, but this is not very high engagement.

Nevertheless, the insurance industry can’t afford to be passive in mobility. Once, having a mobile application or having a mobile-optimized web site was cutting edge; now it is a customer expectation. Having an application for an iPhone or Android, a mobile-optimized website, and a “touch” user interface is expected – gone are the days of hyperlinks, the mouse and the keyboard alone. 

We need to be at parity with all of the other icons on a customer’s device, not just with our industry competitors. Just because we are in the insurance space does not give us a bye when it comes to a great user experience. With apps like Digital Locker, Good Hands Roadside Assistance, and QuickFoto Claim, Allstate can offer its mobile customers additional services, but these features need to be constantly updated and refreshed. It may calm down eventually, but it is happening at a break-neck pace right now.

If the holiday season teaches us anything, it is that more people will be getting and using mobile technologies. They will watch videos, stream music, play games, buy goods and services, browse the web, text, and socialize. I think being there when, how, and where they want to interact with us is critical. Extending that relationship and having the customer engage with us more is the new norm.

Kevin Rice is Allstate's director of mobile, Internet and social technology. 

Readers are encouraged to respond to Kevin using the “Add Your Comments” box below.

This blog was exclusively written for Insurance Networking News. It may not be reposted or reused without permission from Insurance Networking News.

The opinions of bloggers on do not necessarily reflect those of Insurance Networking News.

Comments (0)

Be the first to comment on this post using the section below.

Add Your Comments...

Already Registered?

If you have already registered to Insurance Networking News, please use the form below to login. When completed you will immeditely be directed to post a comment.

Forgot your password?

Not Registered?

You must be registered to post a comment. Click here to register.

Blog Archive

On Thanking the Regulator … Really

The Financial Conduct Authority is demanding higher standards of consumer protection from insurers, which could lead to greater customer engagement and understanding.

Competing with the Coasts for Tech Talent

Are heartland-based insurers at a recruiting disadvantage for tech skills?

Putting Your Investments Where Your Transformation Is: Part 2: Optimizing Your IT Investments Portfolio

Sam Medina continues a 3-part series on Transforming the IT Investment Budget in order to fund new programs and initiatives without the necessity of additional capital expense.

Boosting Performance with Integrated Underwriting Tools

A unified, comprehensive platform can help underwriters perform their jobs more efficiently — and profitably.

Apply Mindfulness to Leadership

Managers can benefit from applying this theory both to their career aspirations as well as to interactions and expectations of staff.

Opinion: Halbig Decision Creates New Level of Uncertainty for Obamacare

Time will tell if the Halbig decision remains viable. But in the meantime, a new level of uncertainty has been injected into the process.