Written by: Trevor Lloyd-Jones, Content Manager, LexisNexis Risk Solutions

The words “cool” and “insurance” are not often words that you hear in the same sentence. But it is happening: insurance companies are relatively new to the world of smartphone apps and digital disruption, but they are getting engaged.

More and more of the UK’s major insurers are leveraging their data with mobile apps for policy holders and there are also some important new companies coming into this space. For now most of the emerging players are around things like online brokerage, mobile insurance transactions, pay-as-you-go and peer-to-peer insurance, but there is a scenario unfolding where we could see more partnerships between the start-ups and established insurers.

Recently the trend has been towards more collaboration with the disruptors, rather than competition.

Mobile apps can help speed up the process for the customer when it comes to instantaneous quotes, driving incremental sales and customer satisfaction. At LexisNexis Risk Solutions in the US market we have the Mobile Data Prefill solution which automatically completes the customer’s data on their smart phones.

In the US 79% of insurers are using Auto Data Prefill to automatically fill forms and speed up the online application process. This helps insurers move more toward a completely touchless or self-service insurance sales and claims process. The US is further ahead with enabling prefill online and now mobile prefill, although the UK is on the same journey.

The goal for the insurer is dramatically reduced processing costs, more accurate pricing and risk analysis, as well as happier customers. Pre-filling of forms is an important requirement for insurance customer service via a mobile platform, given the consumer resistance to tapping out large amounts of data on the small screen.

Mobile apps can also help you see how safe a driver you are. They can do other things to coach your driving style and help reduce insurance cost, ultimately improving road safety.

With a telematics app running on a smartphone, the safest drivers can earn a discount of up to 20% off their car insurance. They can be strangely addictive. Some help to optimise your route or give you a driving ‘score’ that you can compare against the national average, or friends and family.

Insurance is now going down a similar path to banking, which has seen non-bank money firms like PayPal, Google Wallet and mobile tools generally become a major disruptive force.

In banking, Apple Pay is growing at the rate of one million new users a week.

There is consumer interest in apps but they are also a risk for insurers in terms of delivering a satisfactory experience over mobile and in digital generally, with virtual reality (VR) apps and new data sources coming along in the future. Apps are a risk in terms of not engaging and allowing other tech specialists to come along and disintermediate the consumer.

A few insurers have already started using VR apps for risk control representatives to navigate commercial buildings before insuring them and other underwriting purposes.

Insurance and financial services generally is becoming an extremely complex industry in terms of digital and customer touchpoints.

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