The global insurance landscape is changing rapidly. With a shift in demographics and the increased connectivity and popularity of social media, insurers must become more mobile friendly and tech savvy to meet customer expectations.
Opportunities for mobile distribution are abundant. An estimated 4.3 billion mobile phone users worldwide in 2016 represented 58.7% of the global population, and the number of users is anticipated to reach 4.8 billion by 20201. Among this group, approximately 2 billion reported using mobile social media in 20162. In developing countries, mobile distribution serves as a tool to reduce policy pricing and improve scalability of microinsurance offers to reach low-income and uninsured markets.
Increased Efficiency, Improved Engagement
Mobile distribution can increase efficiencies across the insurance value chain. Enrollment and claims processes become more streamlined, significantly decreasing turnaround times. By reducing operational costs, mobile-based processes make it possible for insurers to provide lower-cost, high-volume insurance offers. Applied to traditional product lines, these efficiencies can increase overall profitability.
From an engagement perspective, insurers can leverage mobile apps to assist customers in managing their own health. Gamification apps can incentivize consumers to monitor their health and pursue a more active lifestyle. Some apps are designed to help customers regularly follow medication programs and treatments through reminders and games. Insurers may also implement chronic disease management through wearable devices.
The InsurTech Revolution
Insurers have traditionally lagged behind in technology development, which has led some companies to find alternative ways to innovate through investments or collaborations with tech startups. InsurTech companies such as MicroEnsure and BIMA offer both mobile network operators (MNOs) and services in mobile product development and distribution.
The mobile platform offers modern service tools as a means to improve customer acquisition and retention. Insurers can benefit from an improved process of analyzing and understanding customer needs, while increasing brand awareness. Mobile apps can facilitate gathering consumer information and aid in the development of customized products. As highlighted in RGA Global Bancassurance surveys, a multi-channel product approach and coordinated marketing strategy are key factors for success in gaining a competitive advantage through mobile technology.
For the consumer, mobile apps can provide self-service options for the entire life cycle of the insurance policy. Enhanced customer communications may include: event and renewal reminders, and account status updates. Tools such as portfolio trackers, premium calculators, payment options, and benefit illustrators provide additional support. Apps are also used to issue policies on demand using simple processing, mobile payments, and e-signatures. Such policies are pre-underwritten and rely on capturing the basic financial and medical information of the customer.