Mobile technology is infiltrating in our environment in a way that eclipses any other previous technology. In addition, we are seeing applications that would never have been possible in the previous non-mobile universe. The insurance industry is not in the forefront of exploiting this, but some leaders are moving traditional and new applications to the mobile world.
Paul Verna, eMarketer senior analyst recently compiled a report on smartphones, tablets, and other connected devices entitled “Smart Devices: Evolution and Convergence.” He concluded: “As these device categories evolve and new ones come into being, consumers will continue to expect digital content to be available on all screens, at all times, in all locations,”
At the leading edge of insurance mobile implementation, Progressive Insurance recently announced an agreement with Mitek Systems Inc. to allow customers to use the camera on a mobile device (smartphones & tablets) to take photos of documents to get an auto quote. In a short video, Progressive shows how the application utilizes cameras on smartphones to automate the shopping and buying process for auto insurance. Using the Progressive mobile application available for download in the Apple App Store, the consumer simply enters their ZIP code and takes a picture of their driver’s license, vehicle identification number or existing insurance ID card.
In general, the insurance industry may not be in the lead, but there is growing interest in utilizing mobile in traditional and non-traditional ways. In the last quarter of 2011, the US analyst firm, Strategy Meets Action (SMA), surveyed tier one and tier two insurers to determine attitudes toward and trends in mobile application deployment. As reported in Insurance & Technology, SMA found that larger insurers have the best formed plans, and the majority of interest was in the area of distribution.
Mark Breading, SMA Partner, and author of the report entitled The Mobile Technology Universe: Current Usage and Future Opportunities for Insurers, commented “both our survey and our discussions with insurers indicated that distribution was the No. 1 area for future investments in mobile technology.” The research found that 62 percent of respondents were planning to invest in mobile applications for distribution in the coming year. The respondents also indicated plans for claims and marketing applications.