A report by Swiss research company MyPrivateBanking concludes that while the ”mobile app revolution” has reached the insurance industry, adoption of the popular technology is “still at a very early stage, showing patchy and inconsistent deployment.”
The survey involved a total of more than 100 apps offered by 30 leading insurance companies worldwide.
The “overall winner of the app ranking,” according to the report, was France’s AXA Group, which it said “offers a consistently good app portfolio across all insurance sectors. AXA is followed by the Dutch Aegon Group in second place and the British company Aviva in third.
“The best offering for auto apps comes from State Farm followed by Allstate. The number one ranked insurance company for health insurance apps is Humana with Aetna as runner-up. In the life and pension insurance sector the first rank is taken by Aegon Group followed by Swiss Life.”
However, MyPrivateBanking’s report indicates that “most insurance companies have not yet grasped the potential of insurance apps. In the rating the auto insurers achieved on average only 59 percent, health insurers 46 percent and life insurers just under 55 percent of the maximum achievable points. This picture becomes even bleaker when taking into consideration the fact that insurers without any customer apps were automatically excluded from the analysis.”
The biggest shortcomings MyPrivateBanking Research identified in the app strategies of most insurance companies were listed as follows:
• Only three out of the 30 analyzed companies cover all three insurance sectors surveyed (auto, health, life & pension). 90 percent of all apps analyzed are only available in one country.
• The majority of apps don’t offer user-friendly features such as a renew policy function, or ones that would improve the claim process. Only about 50 percent of auto insurance companies provide an “ask for quote” or similar feature. For health and life insurers, the rate is even lower, at about 20 percent.
• 62 percent of the insurance apps are only available for iPhone (Apple iOS) despite the fact that Android devices have a higher market share than the iPhone worldwide.
“The insurance industry uses just 20 percent of the potential of mobile apps to serve clients better and increase market appeal,” noted Steffen Binder, Research Director of MyPrivateBanking. “A few simple steps are all that it would take for mobile apps to become a core tool for insurance companies to differentiate themselves from their competition.”
MyPrivateBanking recommended that insurance companies aim for mobile apps that are attractive to existing, as well as potential, clients by implementing the following steps:
• Consistent global app strategy: no more scattering of apps that seem to appear randomly in just a few countries. Instead, a consistent approach is required to rollout the best apps across many countries. The apps should be consistent in branding, security and convenience across different markets worldwide.
• Insurance apps, both on a stand-alone basis as well as a company’s portfolio of apps, must have a clear strategic focus. For each app, it has to be clear how the app is integrated with other apps and media channels, and how it satisfies the needs of existing and potential new clients.
• Features such as supporting claim submissions, asking for a quote, product and corporate information and any of a variety of advisory functions should be part of every insurance app portfolio.
• Insurance companies should concentrate their efforts and set priorities. This will avoid work duplication, late deliveries and, over time, implementing a lot of mediocre apps instead of a few superior ones.
Binder added that at present “we are seeing only the first beginnings of the mobile app revolution. The challenge for insurance companies will be to offer, across multiple access channels, a platform that allows clients and others to make claims, get quotes, receive critical information together with advice and be entertained, wherever and whenever they wish. Therefore, personal interaction, telephone, online channels for insurers and mobile media will increasingly merge into a unified service platform.”