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Maximizing Your Insurance Customer Experience with Mobile Applications

, | January 31, 2023 | By
A team of happy app developers huddled around a laptop

by Charles Sybert –

Now more than ever in today’s digital world, it is fundamental for companies to be able to respond to the question, “do you have an app for that?” with a resounding yes. The best companies have made great strides allowing them to better connect with customers, increasing engagement, and propelling sales in an upward trajectory. While it is essential to evolve with customer-facing applications continually, companies must start to give serious thought about leveraging mobile technologies to increase the effectiveness of your most valuable asset, your employees.

We will first review some of the principles to be applied to both consumer and employee mobile applications and then move into the art of the possible for consumer and employee applications.

Design Principles

Design for the screen – Consider who will be the key user and the likely size of the mobile device screen. If this is an internal application, then a tablet size can be used than a standard phone screen

Consistency – Throughout the application the visual and functional experiences must be similar

Decluttering – the mobile app interface needs to be clean, demand clear calls to action from the user, and performing tasks is intuitive

Minimize user input – Refine the data entry requirements to as few fields as possible and look for alternatives for entering data. For example, use geolocation to generate a selection of addresses to choose from

Use bit size chunks – For complex tasks such as entering prior losses, break the task into smaller sections to not overwhelm the user

Be aware of different user experiences – 4.5% of the global population is color blind (1 in 12 men and 1 in 20 women), 4% experience low vision (1 in 30), .6% are blind (1 in 188). Other people have different cultural experiences and may perceive graphics and color differently.

Technology Principles

Be focused – Do not allow the application to become an all-inclusive solution as this will cause the application to become heavy, cumbersome not only for the user but also maintenance

Plan for multiple releases – Just like a regular application, mobile applications will require technology refreshes and other upgrades

Build to be dynamic – Understand the business goals and employ an architecture that enables for simple updates for minor changes such as wording tweaks, workflow changes, different service providers without requiring a costly development cycle.

Build for the future – Use technologies that are plug and play, use of microservices and other techniques to allow your app to accommodate future technology without requiring a complete overhaul

Offload complex analysis – Define highly responsive services to process complex calculations or calls to artificial intelligence reducing the time for the user to wait

Leverage the Cloud – Use low code/no-code platforms to build and maintain the application to improve time to market

Mobile Trends for the Customer

In today’s world, most insurers already have a mobile application, but users are continually demanding more out of the application. Below are some trends to account for in your next release

Paperless – Mobile apps can enable the critical document such as insurance cards to be stored in the mobile device’s digital wallet, provide electronic signature capture or access policy documents via the cloud

Omni Channel – In the current market, Insurance companies have 5 main avenues to engage with the customer, the agent, the call center, print, and digital media. The mobile application must support and extend the marketing, branding, and image of the communication portfolio while performing all of the transactions supported by the other channels.

Gamification – Driving customer engagement through interactive experiences that benefit both the consumer and the company. Some common experiences include earning badges for completing tasks such as providing profile information. Others, such as Allstate, provide a discount for safe driving or other insurance providers that charge by the mile.

Artificial Intelligence – Through the use of AI, the mobile application can become more sophisticated with predicting the customer’s needs, creating a tailored experience, and simplifying the transaction. For example, if the app is opened in a different location than usual, the app could ask, are you in a vehicle accident.

Measurements – A newer trend is to collect detailed data on the application usage to provide insight into future designs. Some of the more interesting metrics include frequency of use, depth of visit by understanding how many screens the user interacted with compared to prior visits, session time, etc. This information is provided to the marketing department for future enhancements to the experience.

Use Cases for Customer Applications

Combining the principles from above and harnessing the latest technology, Insurance companies are poised to be able to drive process efficiency, lower cost, and improve customer service. Below we present a few use cases to outline the art of the possible.

Sales – Simplifying the data capture

The majority of the insurance applications require the customer to manually enter information which can be time-consuming and error-prone. Since most mobile devices have cameras, one option is to have the customer snap pictures of the current declarations pages or a screenshot from the current carrier coverages. Through microservices, the image would be passed to either RPA or AI tool that will parse out the relevant information and prefill the application for the customer. With the differences in coverage limits and product options, machine learning could assist the customer on which option to take.

Claims – Faster adjudication

Some claims applications will allow the user to take a picture, provide some necessary information and other details about an accident. Through machine learning and AI, it is possible to compare the insured’s picture of the damage to an original or stock photo to determine the level of damage to estimate the cost of repair. Through the power of voice to text, the user can provide a recorded description of the accident, which can be converted into text. Then the text can be used to fill out the basics of the accident report allowing the insured to verify the report instead of typing in the details.

Once the claim has been reported, business rules, fraud detection, and other technology can be applied to determine if the claim qualifies for straight-through processing or requires an adjuster. One of the fraud rules could be the geolocation of the picture to confirm it is of the accident. If additional information is required, the adjuster can contact the insured and hold a video conference to discuss any questions or issues. Since all communication is being done through the cloud, all interactions can be stored, and analysis can be performed for effectiveness.

Use Cases for Employee Applications

Applying the same principles used in public-facing applications can yield process efficiencies, improvements in staff retention, and improvements in customer satisfaction for highly mobile workforce members such as claims adjusters and agents.

Mobile Agents

One of the marketing tools used by agents is attending local business fairs, farmer’s markets, etc. They usually set up a booth with giveaways in hopes of having a call back from a customer. Through the power of a cellular-enabled tablet, the agent would be able to provide quotes directly to the customer. If the customer liked the quote, the agent could even bind it using electronic payment methods and electronic signature, turning a prospect into a customer.

Underwriting Enablement

Agents are always working to close business and sometimes need a quick response from underwriting outside of regular business hours. Instead of dedicating an underwriter for after-hours support at a desk, provide a mobile application. This application would display important information, summarize the risk level, and enable the underwriter to contact the agent, approve or deny the request from a mobile device. This enables a response from a skilled underwriter while not taxing the resource to always be at the computer.

Safety Documentation

Medical Malpractice and some worker’s compensation insurance companies will provide safety resources to help identify facilities and changes in operating procedures to create a safer work environment. A mobile application can reduce the documentation efforts by use of voice to text to document the customer interaction and areas, provide a video of the walkthrough with voice over showing the areas or customer employee actions that need to be corrected. That same video could also have a digital overlay that highlights potential safety areas of concern, such as machines being too close together, not sufficient enough paint markings on the pavement, etc.

CAT – Adjudication

During a CAT, the goal is to see as many customers as quickly as possible to gather the FNOL, meet immediate needs, and assess the total damage accurately and fairly. The resolution speed is generally limited to the number of claims adjusters that can be deployed. A solution could be to use a mobile application where a lower-skilled resource such as a skilled temporary worker could fill out the details, take pictures, and gather other documentation as necessary.

For example, a hail CAT occurs, and 1,000 roofs are damaged. After providing training to locally sourced skilled resources, the team is provided with a mobile device, drone, and a grid to cover. Each resource will use the mobile device to identify the insured homes and deploy the drone to take pictures of the roof, siding, and home and upload it through the app. The app then uses AI to determine the level of damage to estimate a repair. If the claim qualifies as straight-through processing, the claims system will notify the customer of the claim, provide offers of payment, and any documentation requirements through the customer mobile application. If the claim does not qualify for immediate processing, the local resource can contact an adjuster for a video call with the insured to gather more information, discuss options or other needed details.

Enabling your mobile strategy

Mobile apps are a very powerful tool to reduce costs, improve customer and employee engagement, and standardize the process. Any mobile app strategy must be viewed in the company brand image and existing digital communication portfolio to ensure harmony among all parts.

 Contact RCG to set up a discussion on harnessing the power of mobile applications.