Virtual Viewpoint: Mobile for the Midsize (and Smaller) Carriers

Where do mid-tier and smaller insurance carriers stand against the tier-one insurers when it comes to mobile technology?

Mobile technology has to move up on the priority list for carriers that haven’t started on it yet. It’s likely that the iPad 3 will cause another surge of tablet sales. Smartphones coming out have quad core processors and the average consumer doesn’t even have a quad core desktop yet.

The power of these devices is bordering on more than what consumers need. My phone has better bandwidth than the fiber optic connection in my house. It has a dual-core processer and puts the resolution on my desktop to shame. So consumers are asking: Why can’t I have a decent app from my insurance carrier?

Consumer expectations are growing and their general computing needs are going to be met by apps. It’s a good sign when you see Geico, Progressive, and Bank of America all touting mobile apps in advertisements. That means other [insurers and financial services companies] will have to follow.

Mobilehas quickly become a necessity for businesses and it’s yet another area where mid-size and especially smaller carriers are at risk of falling behind because consumers don’t expect any less of those companies just because they are smaller.

Will a big direct writer always have a better, snazzier app? Sure. Do consumers necessarily care about that? No, as long as they can get what they need to get done on the app, they are generally going to be happy.

That being said, historically what we’ve seen happen is vendors—particularly policy vendors—tend to add these functionalities as a differentiator so they can go to carriers and say, “If you used our system you would have a mobile app by now.” I think we’ll see more of that as policy vendors, portal vendors and stand-alone app vendors come out stronger in the market. There will be options for insurers, but you have to have something out there now or really soon.

There is always something that causes the smaller carriers to struggle to keep up with the larger carriers. This is not one of them. This is one of those things, that because of their size the larger carriers got into first because it wasn’t a big bill for them. It’s a low enough cost that anybody that wants to be a mobile leader can be.

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