Consumers slow to adopt insurers' mobile apps

Although insurers continue to boost their mobile capabilities, consumers aren't readily adopting the new tools.

A new survey from software company FICO found 65 percent of more than 2,000 consumers have never used their smartphone to manage or interact with their insurer. And only 9 percent have managed an insurance policy using their mobile device.

"While many insurance firms have built mobile applications, consumer usage is fairly low, as the function of these apps is typically limited to filing a claim or renewing a policy," Russ Schreiber, who manages FICO's insurance practice, said yesterday in a statement.

Additionally, although many consumers aren't yet using available mobile tools, 55 percent of the survey participants said they would like policy renewal reminders delivered via email or smartphone, while another 52 percent are interested in receiving alerts about policy changes.

"While not everyone has started using mobile devices to interact with their insurance providers, those who do report a significant increase in customer satisfaction," Schreiber said. "For example, alerts that keep customers up-to-date on their claims are growing. Insurers that create this type of dialogue receive higher recommendation ratings, which often lead to improved sales."

The survey results suggest insurers could take more innovative approaches to their mobile policies, including better identifying usage trends and providing additional values like location-based services.

"More consumers will have smartphones and tablets, and these devices will have apps that enable them to do more things wherever they go," Aimee Lucas, vice president and customer experience transformist at consulting firm Temkin Group, told Insurance & Technology. "To make these experiences work, companies will need to consider how mobile integrates into their product offerings and entire end-to-end experience."

To learn more:
- here's the FICO statement
- read the Insurance & Technology article

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