Of Special Interest


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19th February 2012

LIMRA reviews growth of mobile technology amongst North American insurers

Almost nine in 10 life insurers in North America who have or plan mobile technology initiatives do so to meet growing producer demands and provide better support services; a quarter listed it as the top reason for adopting mobile technology into their business strategy.
“Like we saw with social media, life insurers recognize that using mobile technology is not negotiable if the company wants to be competitive now and in the future,” said Mary Art, LIMRA research director, technology in marketing and distribution research. “In fact, three of four companies surveyed said they were using mobile technology to keep pace with their competitors and nearly as many anticipate these investments will increase sales.”
In this new report," Mobile on the Move: Reaching Insurance Stakeholders Wherever They Are," LIMRA examined the mobile initiatives of 53 life insurance companies in the US and Canada and what they are doing to integrate mobile devices into their business model.
Already, almost a third of companies have some sort of mobile initiative in place and another 30% plan to launch a mobile programme specifically for their producers within the year. Most companies are looking at integrating this technology into their sales and prospecting processes. According to companies surveyed, producers—especially those marketing to younger generations—are demanding mobile support from carriers. Earlier LIMRA findings support this: the number of producers using mobile devices in their practices nearly doubled from 2008 to 2010.
Producers are not the only audience life insurers hope to reach with their mobile initiatives. With close to half of the US population expected to connect to the mobile Web by 2015,1 it is critical that life insurers consider how they will integrate mobile technology to reach consumers as well. LIMRA’s study revealed that two-thirds of life insurers said they want to use mobile technology to improve their service to policyholders and keep pace with consumer demand.
LIMRA found many companies are still in the development phase with mobile technology, launching their first mobile initiatives or pilot programmes in 2011. Mobile applications and modified, mobile-friendly sites are currently the most common developments among life insurance companies. In the future, the single most common focus will be on developing a separate mobile website. The belief is that as tablets become more popular, mobile websites will provide a better viewing experience that is more cost effective than mobile apps offer. In addition, consumers are less likely to download an app for insurance since they will not use it often enough.
There are challenges to mobile development. Seven out of 10 companies report having trouble allocating adequate human resources to properly launch and manage the new mobile initiatives. In addition, companies said they struggle to manage the different mobile devices, platforms and operating systems. Half of the companies said defining the return on investment for mobile investments and ensuring data security have been issues of concern.
“Overcoming these challenges and finding a way to develop an effective mobile strategy is a top priority of insurers,” commented Art. “We expect there to be a learning curve with adopting mobile technology but it is undoubtedly an important platform for the future of the insurance industry.”