GlobalData Plc

Insurers: to app or not to app?

With smartphones almost ubiquitous, service providers feel under pressure to develop customer apps. For insurers, apps can help improve service provision, but goals must be realistic and clear.

As per our latest Insurance Consumer Survey, 79% of UK consumers own a smartphone. With devices capable of delivering effective, convenient, and highly interactive services in the palm of one’s hand, the customer service benchmark has skyrocketed in recent years thanks in part to disruptive online brands such as Netflix and Uber.

The financial services space has been striving to keep up. Insurers looking to remain relevant have felt the need to develop an app – often without a clear game plan. But insurance apps need to be developed with a set of realistic assumptions and goals:

  • Insurance products offer little in terms of easy touchpoints with customers. By extension, customers do not want to feel “spammed” by explicit marketing. Apps should focus on maximizing the quality, rather than quantity, of the opportunities to interact, and thus make an impression worth talking about.
  • Very few insurance apps are ever likely to make consumers’ home screens. Explicitly insurance-based apps may only come close to this if the proposition is attractive, slick, and offers enticements to interact regularly. A strong set of relevant additional informational services will be needed, such as those offered by Metromile and Oscar.
  • However, not making home-screen grade does not equate to failure. Next-level customer service and satisfaction can be provided through low-touch apps – a smooth claims process, for example. Yet these apps may well need to be either very simple to download and use or built to require limited hard drive space so as to remain installed for “if and when.”

By Stewart Mcewan, Head of Content, UK General Insurance

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