New Data Shows Why Mobile App Investments Are Failing Insurers & Brokers
By David Abbou
Ordering take-out from your favorite sushi restaurant? Getting in those last-minute holiday gift orders? Scanning flight and hotel deals for a much needed weekend getaway?
Chances are you’re doing all of this from the one device you use the most - your mobile smartphone. And today, that’s also how you look for the best insurance options for you.
85% of Americans today own a smartphone, and a whopping 57% of us spend 5 hours or more on them each day. And as insurance consumers, we now expect to intuitively engage an insurer or broker and on our mobile phone - be it to apply for a new policy or to file a claim for benefits.
What happens when our experience on an insurance app falls painfully short from the personalized and seamless one we’ve come to expect from Apple, Amazon, and the many consumer apps we interact with? Frustration and discontent chip away at our patience and loyalty.
Many of us have had it with these sub-par experiences and decide we can do better. So we abandon our insurer’s cumbersome app and start perusing other insurance companies or insurtech challengers such as Lemonade or Next. In fact, 60% of millennials are open to buying insurance from new entrants to the industry.
Mobile Insurance Investments A Far Cry From Customer Needs
In the wake of intensified competition and unprecedented consumer need for digital and mobile experiences, insurers and brokers have invested in mobile app projects in recent years… but are these investments delivering the mobile-first experiences today’s customers expect?
Insurance professionals across the U.S. were recently surveyed to find out how many customers are actually using mobile solutions offered by their providers. Despite significant resources spent on taking their customer experience mobile, only 11.5% of insurers, brokers and agents indicated that new policies are completed using a mobile app. At 39%, more insurance sales are still being completed over the phone.
Mobile adoption rates were not just low for transacting sales but also for crucial customer service processes like processing claims, where only 10% or professionals responded that their customers’ claims are submitted on mobile.
The data points to a harsh current state of affairs for insurers, as customers are still flooding contact centers with calls or choosing to visit the office instead - greatly undermining the objectives of these investments.
If customers are more mobile than ever, why are insurance providers’ mobile solutions the least used methods for both new policy sales and claims?
4 Reasons Why An App is NOT the Solution for Insurance Customers
Current mobile insurance projects attempt to guide customers through an entire sales or claims process. To do that, a customer needs to be able to complete and sign forms, verify ID, and upload required supporting documents straight from their smartphone.
Mobile apps were a step up from manually collecting signatures and binding agreements — around 5 years ago. But when it comes to the entire flow of opening up a policy or making a claim, they fail customers and insurance companies in 4 crucial ways:
1) They fail to integrate with all steps required for completion
Most insurance apps deploy an eSignature solution to minimize time and resource-draining paperwork for agents and representatives. But collecting signatures is just one of many steps often required of insurance customers applying for a policy or making a claim. Typically, they must also:
Provide a copy of their government-issued ID
Provide supporting documents from multiple sources (e.g. death certificate for life insurance claims, hospital bills for health insurance claims)
Grant binding consent to new or modified policy agreement terms and conditions
Since eSignature software and other point solutions don’t cover all other steps required to complete an insurance process end-to-end, insurance companies stitch all of these customer-facing steps together using several siloed solutions that don’t integrate seamlessly with one another.
Those gaps force insurers’ hands into processes that require multiple steps and touchpoints, which wastes time and resources for employees. What’s worse — those inefficient processes are passed down to customers, prolonging turnaround times and damaging customer satisfaction.
2) They’re built entirely around PDF-based forms and are usually printed anyway
Mobile insurance apps still rely on PDF-based forms that the customer must complete. To sign a new policy agreement, a customer is directed out of the mobile app and to their inbox to locate an email from their insurer with the form attached. Reading and understanding long and cumbersome agreements in a PDF format is especially uncomfortable from a small mobile screen, and that’s even more problematic for millennials, 19% of which are smartphone-only internet users.
Because of this uncomfortable user experience, many customers will hold off and wait to complete the form when they can get to their laptop or PC, risking lags in the process and delaying that insurance sale of claim from being completed.
Ultimately, most customers will opt to download and print that PDF form, leaving no option but to fill it out manually and fax or scan it back - completely defeating the purpose of using a mobile app in the first place.
3) They bounce customers to the app store for a one-time event
A customer will first visit their app store to download their insurers’ mobile app. But soon after, they’ll be asked to hop to the app store yet again to download an esign app just to satisfy one of several requirements needed from them to complete the process.
Not only is downloading an app just to sign a document an incomplete solution, it’s an unwelcome imposition on customers. Insurers need to remind themselves that insurance isn’t Instagram to customers - who need their digital insurance processes to be low-touch and low-effort. What they don’t want is to fill up their personal smartphone’s storage with eSign apps and other necessary evils for what essentially is a one-time use.
4) Busy mobile insurance apps are neither seamless or completely digital
There’s nothing more painful than investing great amounts of money and effort only for the end product to feel like one big misguided effort to your customer. Unlike consumer apps, insurance apps must worry about compliance in many if not most steps required by customers. That’s a main reason why a customer usually needs to sign and enter their password every time they use an insurance app. Most login seldomly, forget their password and then have to request to reset or retrieve it.
That’s just one of many user experience frictions you’ll experience on a mobile insurance app, which often suffer from busy and crowded layout and navigation that only prolongs a customer’s ability to focus on completing the task at hand.
Siloed systems that add steps and work for insurance customers and rely on legacy processes only end up producing the paperwork and friction that digital experiences were meant to eradicate. Which is why mobile apps and mobile journeys are NOT the same thing - not for customers, not for your business.
To Compete, Insurers Must Re-Imagine Their Mobile Strategy
Gone are the days when having a website or mobile app was a ‘wow factor’ seen ahead of its time. Today the entire experience for insurance customers needs to be not just digital but comprehensive: Customers need to be able to complete every requirement asked of them - from eSignatures and eForms, providing evidence or supporting documents, granting digital consent, and making payments securely - right from their smartphone.
To do away with disjointed journeys that waste valuable time for customers and employees while racking up overhead and management costs, insurers and brokers need to leave siloed digital solutions like standalone eSign apps and manual paper-reliant processes behind and leverage completely end-to-end solutions that guide customers from the start of a new policy sale or claim request right onto its completion straight from their mobile device.
That’s what will enable them to meet the mobile needs of today’s customers, win their long-term loyalty, and get the most out of their digital investments.
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