Insurers are encountering a
new level of sophistication with
mobile users and technologies.
Much like the rapid maturity
of web technologies years ago,
mobile technology is rapidly
evolving today. Perhaps you are
tackling a Mobile 2.0 strategy,
or maybe you are just getting
started with mobile. Either way,
here are a few things to consider
as you define your strategy and
Why is this important?
Consumers are becoming more accustomed to, and more
dependent on, mobile technologies. Satisfying today’s customers is arguably less critical than attracting and retaining
tomorrow’s best customers (and agents), who will be mobile
They are likely to be better risks, more productive and,
in turn, more profitable. Beyond customers and agents, with
things like mobile-enabled cars, weather preparedness, home
monitoring systems, data aggregation, and dozens of other
mobile tie-ins, you need to be in the game now.
When designing mobile capabilities, think first about the audience. Policyholders need a set of functionality geared toward
consumer interactions. Agents need different functionality,
with a higher degree of sophistication around inquiry and
transaction support. Employees likely need an even richer set of
functionality along with a robust security model.
Take the time to define what will be most valuable and
impactful for each type of mobile user. Ask them what they
are looking for, which may require first educating them on the
possibilities. Use an agile approach to demonstrating mock-up capabilities to help you confirm priorities. Is what you are
offering going to make things easier and more convenient for
each user type?
Business stakeholders (e.g., claims leaders, service opera-
tions leaders, head of agency, etc.) should be accountable for de-
cisions about features relevant to their functional areas. While
you may already have gone through such an exercise, consider
how much has changed in just the past 12 months with mobile
technologies. Is it time for a refresher?
Think Big, Start Small
As you begin introducing mobile capabilities, I suggest taking
an agile approach. Deploy basic functionality first. Then add
capabilities as resources allow and user demands warrant. Include a simple comment mechanism—along the lines of a “like/
don’t like” vote for existing functions (or desired features). Don’t
waste time and resources on features that users don’t want.
Security and privacy
Security considerations will have a major impact on design
and platform specifications. How much information should be
made available, and to whom? Other industries, particularly
banking, have solved many of the fundamental security issues,
at least for now. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel, but all the
business stakeholders (not just IT) must understand the security landscape and the risks.
Don’t let security considerations stand in the way of your
mobile deployment. Instead, limit your risk by limiting the
amount of information that is in the mobile realm and by
adopting security measures that have already been proven
effective elsewhere (e.g., banking, payments, airlines, etc.). And
put plans in place in the event of a data or security breach; no
security model is infallible.
You can’t dictate to consumers what devices they should use.
They will float from phone to tablet to laptop and back. They’ll
use Apple and Android. They’ll use Wi-Fi and cellular data and
so on. Design your strategy around the desired user experience,
then figure out how (or if) to deploy all aspects of that design in
the mobile realm.
Mobile functionality is becoming increasingly important for capturing customer brand loyalty. It’s not about the
technology, it’s about the customer experience. Whether
you’re in the mobile game already or just getting started, put
the customer first as you develop or renew your strategy. And
be prepared for rapid change as the mobile realm is moving
quickly. Your policyholders and employees will let you know if
you’re getting it right. ITA
Rod Travers is executive vice president at The Nolan Company,
a management consulting firm specializing in the insurance
industry. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ride the Wave
Mobile technology has moved to a second level for insurance carriers.