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The Mobile Side of Digital: From OK to Great

Carrie Burns
Insurance Experts' Forum, July 2, 2014

Allstate, Progressive, State Farm and Geico are leading the mobile charge in the U.S. auto insurance market, according to a new report from Aite Group.

That’s the good news.

The bad news: Despite the opportunity that mobile gives carriers to interact with customers, 17 percent of financial services companies still have no mobile strategy of any kind, according to a report conducted by Ponemon Institute.

And, the insurers that have gone mobile could be doing a lot more.

Aite Group said in its report that the standard criteria for mobile includes having a mobile-enabled site or a website that can scale for mobile use, enabling users to complete the most basic transactions — file a claim or request a quote — on their mobile devices and tablets.

“On top of the site, insurers ought to have at least one mobile app, which provides similar functionality as the website does for policyholders,” the report states.

Yes, many insurers offer this already.

The next step is to make the mobile application available on multiple platforms (iOS, Android, Kindle). And, rather than having only one application, insurers should have multiple applications, with different functions and features, including voice-recognition technology and other useful actions beyond simply paying a bill, according to the report. And, Aite Group recognizes the insurers taking action in apps and other mobile areas.

• Allstate -  “Far and away a leader in the mobile application department,” Aite Group says, pointing to the insurer’s apps for policies and claims (Allstate Mobile), roadside assistance (GoodHands), and usage-based insurance (UBI) measurement directly from a mobile device (DriveWise). And, its mobile site is easy to use and provides standard options in addition to accident support.

• Progressive - From its mobile site users can request a quote and file a claim. Progressive also has several mobile applications, including a robust policyholder app that acts as an ID card and can help with roadside assistance in addition to the standard features.

• State Farm - The mobile site, a scalable version of the full site, wields more functionality than a typical mobile site, enabling users to get quotes and handle claims. State Farm’s mobile apps include Driver Feedback for better, safer driving recommendations, and the Pocket Agent for submitting and documenting accident information, checking claims status, locating repair shops and paying bills.

• Geico – Its site is functional site, allowing users to get a quote and the insurer offers a variety of applications, including a basic app for managing policies and making payments, as well as a traffic game. The main Geico app includes voice-recognition software, “Lily,” to help users make payments and answer frequently asked questions.

Aite Group also says insurers must make mobile sites and applications more useful to consumers on the go. Voice-recognition, like Geico’s Lily, will need to be used to facilitate self-service functions, such as reporting an accident and recording (not typing) claim information.

Also see: 7 Auto Insurers Making Mobile App Inroads in Claims

Other opportunities that Aite Group says will move auto insurers to the next level are adjusting product offerings to match mobile channels with insurance on the go (pay a small fee for narrow coverage for a variety of activities or situations) and partnering with other mobile applications.? For example, new mobile applications such as splitsecnd, which provides emergency assistance in the event of an automobile accident, or Censio, which measures driving behavior associated with risk, could represent innovative partnerships that enable companies to provide better service to existing policyholders.

We’ll see more mobile activity in the coming months. Will Allstate, Progressive, State Farm and Geico continue to lead the way?

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