Enterprising Developments

Grading Insurers' Mobile Adaptation

Joe McKendrick
Insurance Experts' Forum, November 11, 2011

As revealed in an article by INN's Bill Kenealy, Accenture just released the results of a study that finds a majority of insurance executives do not feel their companies are doing a good job of delivering quality experiences to their customers through mobile or other channels. Ninety-one percent say multi-channel customer experience is crucial to their future growth, and eight out of ten rate themselves as “average” or “among the weakest” in terms of electronic service delivery.

My first impression is that this is quite healthy, and I'm glad to hear that few executives have the hubris to think they're on top of their game in service delivery. It's a constantly evolving process in need of constant improvement. Even the best of the best still lack effective 360-degree views of their customers (180-degree, maybe) and struggle with data being housed in multiple silos.

My next thought: Who are the nine percent who don't think multi-channel customer experience is critical to their future growth? What caves are they living in?

Still, there is no shortage of new investment flowing into the mobile channel. The survey of 119 major insurance companies around the world—equally divided between life and property/casualty carriers—finds 81 percent planning to increase their investment in mobile applications over the next three years, up from an average of $9 million (per insurer) over the past three years.

At this point, however, only 15 percent provide services geared for mobile devices, such as information about products sold, quotations and account management. About 58 percent said they would be offering such services over the next three years, however.

Okay, we're still early in the mobile apps game, so it's not surprising that 85 percent of carriers don't yet have offerings in this space. And with the different operating systems and devices out there—iPhone iOS versus Android versus Windows Mobile versus Blackberry and so forth—it's a non-trivial investment of programming time and resources to cover all this ground. If a majority of carriers are at least planning to move apps out to mobile audiences in one form or another, that's progress.

But here's where it gets weird. More than half (54 percent) of respondents say they already offer these services (information about products sold, quotations and account management) online. Which begs the question: who are the 46 percent who are not offering services online? That's a huge, huge number, considering the Internet and Web have been around almost two decades now.

Given what we see here, any carrier that is making a concerted effort to deliver information and services online and via mobile will find themselves with an enormous competitive advantage – because they apparently are among the few.

Joe McKendrick is an author, consultant, blogger and frequent INN contributor specializing in information technology.

Readers are encouraged to respond to Joe using the “Add Your Comments” box below. He can also be reached at joe@mckendrickresearch.com.

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 www.insurancenetworking.com do not necessarily reflect those of Insurance Networking News.

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