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MobileFirst approach for insurance companies: Get started or risk being outpaced by competitors

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RoayDayscreenshot2As a former insurance agency owner and seller, I have first-hand knowledge how embracing technology can improve business performance. By ignoring technology trends such as developing mobile applications and other engagement tools, insurance companies are falling behind and being outpaced by competitors.

Not long ago when people were seeking information, they would fire up their desktop computers or laptops, login and begin their searches. Now, similar to many people, if I’m looking for the latest sports news, I open up a mobile app to find it. Information ranging from sports scores, commuter train schedules, bank balances and travel reservations are all available at our fingertips anytime, anywhere.

With the changing habits of clients and the consumerization of technology making enterprise applications easy-to-use in the workplace, insurance companies are under increasing pressure to embrace mobile technology for employees and policyholders and digitally reinvent their organizations.

Yet the conservative nature of the insurance industry is adverse to these types of changes. In meeting with insurance clients, company leaders will say, ‘we are planning to embrace mobile in 2019.’ And my response is: ‘you’ll be out of business by then, without undergoing digital reinvention’.

When it comes to mobile technology, the most important thing to do is to get started. Depending on what the company wants to accomplish and overall approach to mobile, a mobile app can be designed, developed and integrated in a few months. It can be tweaked and changes once it is up and running.

The Apple and IBM program for enterprise iOS mobile application development is continuing to grow and broaden to industries ranging from healthcare to banking and insurance. With more than 1,000 clients worldwide, mobile business applications are among the first steps toward digital reinvention and transforming the way people work.

Amica Mutual Insurance Company, the oldest auto insurance company in the United States, developed an employee-facing iOS application for processing claims. One of key reasons why policyholders will defect to a different insurance company is based on theirs claims experience.

Taking a MobileFirst approach to the claims processing function can streamline operations delivering mobile capabilities to employees. Claims adjusters can have the necessary information from back-end systems readily available for easy-to-use and instant accessibility, dramatically reducing the amount of time it takes to evaluate and resolve claims.

Amica’s Claims Adjust app integrates six different internal systems transforming the work of claims adjusters from pack mules with paper claims processing forms, voice recorders and digital cameras to conveniently carrying an iPad.  Nearly 80 percent of claims adjusters are now using the new iPad application changing the way work gets done around the entire organization improving business efficiency.

Three Recommendations:

  1. Think BIG. As insurance organizations consider their next steps toward digital reinvention, it is important to have a brain storming session involving the company stakeholders. This session looks at the opportunities in the industry where your organization can advance its offerings.
  2. Act fast. In areas such as mobile, it is important to just get started.  It was once said, if you aren’t embarrassed by the first release of your mobile application, you are doing something wrong. If you delay your mobile application in favor of creating the most visually appealing and perfectly functioning app, your competitors will outpace you. Start somewhere, anywhere.
  3. Start small.  Getting started on the journey to developing a mobile application, it is important to start small. Embarking on a small-scale project allows the organization to be successful quickly before getting more complex and sophisticated technology underway. Once you work out the early kinks, apps can become more sophisticated adding Watson Analytics and cognitive solutions to them.

Looking back at my own experience, the industry has changed a lot very quickly. Increased regulations, clients demanding more engagement and competitors entering in the marketplace at an unprecedented rate, are prompting digital reinvention.  Companies will either be disrupted by technology or use it as a tool to disrupt the industry.

Learn more about how insurance companies are embracing technology and embarking on a mobile journey.

Senior Managing Consultant

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