- Where Insurance & Technology Meet

Is Commercial Lines Underwriting a Killer App for Tablets?

It is clear that Tablets have gone well beyond consumer use, and are increasingly common in business environments.   The question is:  Will there be the killer insurance application?  Perhaps commercial lines insurance is a candidate.

In a recent study of  a large mobile sales force, Gartner found that Tablet computing presents unique new opportunities in business because it actually changes user behaviour.  According to recent Gartner analysis, “Tablets do not merely present a new form factor for users, but they also create new opportunities to engage them. Tablets are not used in the same way as traditional PCs, and they are not replacing other devices, such as smartphones. Instead, they are extending computing capabilities into new locations that were not practical before, and along the way are extending the amount of time users spend in any computing environment.”

So, is there a  ‘killer app’ in the P&C insurance community?  Perhaps commercial lines sales, underwriting and service.  Back in January, we wrote about a new venture by Lombard Canada and Keal Technologies to take commercial quotes to the field, and suppoly renewal decs.  This is a good start, but to go further we think that using the communications capabilities of Tablets to take underwriting  to the field.  There is a lot of information, much of which unstructured, to be gathered and sent to underwriters.  This information can create more questions, and the process becomes iterative.

What would happen if the communication functionality of the Tablet were used to send real time information to underwriters to allow the completion of the information  at the client’s site?   And if the underwriter had questions, these could be addressed with a variety of the media devices available on the tablet.

There are a lot of things to overcome, one of which is ubiquitous access to hi-speed Internet in the field.  However, this seems to be solving itself.  Several opf the major phone carriers in the US have committed to the next generation of wireless communication, and recently Shaw Communications announced that it would move away from investing in cell technology in favour of ubiquitous WiFi. and tablets are the driving force. “As people become more and more aware of the higher cost of data, they’re going to look for alternatives to that cost, and we are that alternative,” said Shaw president Peter Bissonnette. “It’s data that’s driving tablets.”

And data drives commercial lines insurance.  Coincidence?  Perhaps not.