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Mobile Solutions and Personal Lines - Redux

By  Erik Raper Erik Raper  on 2013-05-03 06:52:00  |  Featured in  Insurance
Erik Raper
Posted By Erik Raper
in Insurance
on 2013-05-03 06:52:00

So, I was intending to start moving away from the consumer-facing aspects of Mobile Insurance offerings to focus on agents/brokers, but some of the responses to my last couple of blogs as well as recent discussions with carriers were worth summarizing and debating. If nothing else, it seems that the Mobile space engenders some passionate opinions, so here goes.

It’s all just hype.

A fair number of people who commented on my blog, emailed me, or discussed the topic with me in person fall into this camp. Some of the comments that support this view include:

  • Most people only interact with their Property and Casualty carrier one or two times a year, unless they have a claim. They’re not going to download an App to pay their insurance bill - it’s not the same as Mobile Banking.
  • I’m not going to conduct a complex transaction such as a claim over a device with a form-factor (phone or small tablet) that makes it really difficult to do things like enter text. Plus, I really want to talk to someone.
  • Our experience shows that we get almost no submissions from our Mobile claims offering (from a CIO at a major P&C carrier).
  • Nobody in their right mind is going to shop for insurance on their phone (an analyst friend of mine who was one of the first to document the increasing consumerization of insurance in the late 1990s thanks to the Internet).

My view is that all of the above are legitimate comments/concerns. It’s pretty clear that the Mobile space for consumer-facing Insurance Apps isn’t all that mature… yet. However, we found some interesting data points in digging a little deeper:

  • Overall, access to the Web is moving onto mobile devices. Studies by Google and Cisco suggest that more people will “get online” via their mobile devices than via desktops/laptops sometime this year. Sure, a lot of that is checking the latest Facebook posts from your friends or catching up on the news headlines. But it’s clear that the smartphone is changing the way people think about information access.
  • We already know that more and more people (studies show anywhere from 60% to over 80%) use online resources to research insurance purchases. What’s really interesting is that some of the online insurance comparative rating portals are seeing a rapid increase coming from smartphones and tablets. The insurance shopping site CoverHound reported that Mobile quotes increased from about 5% of their business in the Summer of 2012 to nearly 20% by Christmas.
  • It’s a generational thing. While I consider myself reasonably tech-savvy as a guy from GenX, I’m positively astounded at the way Millenials and the under-20 folks are moving toward smart phones and tablets. Along with this comes a comfort (actually a preference) for the newer devices despite some of the obvious compromises in usability (at least, my view of usability).
  • The download numbers from App Stores (particularly Google Play) are fairly impressive for some carriers. We’re still crunching the numbers to do a sanity check, but our initial estimate is that upwards of 30% of policy holders have downloaded Apps from those few carriers that really promote their Mobile capabilities.

So, to summarize - while those of us who grew up with the first PCs may not be ready to abandon our laptops just yet, it’s clear that the next generation is heading in that direction. Carriers still have a way to go in terms of figuring out how to handle this trend. While we can’t say for sure just when the tipping point will be reached (if it ever will), it’s clear that carriers have to address the mobile space now as a defensive measure at a minimum. Along the way, there’s significant investment involved, not only in the Apps themselves, but in the technology, usability design, process, and governance infrastructure that goes along with it.

Oh, and my final thought for the day: This Internet thing is gonna be big.

Erik Raper

Erik Raper

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Erik Raper heads Paragon’s Marketing and Advisory Services teams across focused industries. In this role, Mr. Raper leads his team to bring deep industry experience, rigorous analytical capabilities and a pragmatic mindset to clients’ most complex business problems. Mr. Raper’s team of marketing and strategy professionals work with Paragon’s Industry Leaders in the development of key go-to-market solutions which align to Paragon strengths and are essential to achieving clients’ business imperatives.

Before being appointed to his current position, Mr. Raper has served several key roles at Paragon including Director of Strategic Solutions Sales, Vice President of Strategy, and leader of Advisory Services. Mr. Raper guided the development of a suite of straight-through-processing (STP) solutions that focused on delivering business value–expanding Paragon’s Fortune 500 clientele and establishing the foundation for the firm’s brand platform: "Improving the Way Work Gets Done."

Prior to his appointment at Paragon in 2004, Mr. Raper spent seven years with Prudential Financial. As a vice president, he was instrumental in leading Prudential through a major operations and technology re-engineering in support of the company’s initial public offering. Preceding his employment with Prudential, he spent seven years with AT&T in various Marketing and Strategic Planning positions.

Mr. Raper holds a B.A. in Marketing from Columbus University, Metairie, Louisiana.

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