Provider opinion: Do we understand the true application of applications?

  • Thursday 23 February 2012

Applications, when accessed through mobile devices and tablets, offer the ability to touch and interact with your product

Mobile devices and tablets are changing the world and the way we live our lives. Whether you're an Apple devotee, a Blackberry nut or an Android fan, just how many journeys do you even attempt without your trusty device, or devices by your side?

Within the protection industry, we have taken our time to adapt to this measureless development and change in consumer behavior. I would be the first to admit that this comes as no real surprise; in general we operate in a pretty traditional (some would say old-fashioned) world.

As an insurer, a major part of our role is to help advisers to position and sell our products, often in a face-to-face environment. When you stop to think, ours is one of the few industries where personal relationships are still valued and needed. How many of our other purchases do we actually carry out having engaged with an expert? I would suggest very few.

So what does this mean for us, specifically how we use and utilise new technology and media? Does it mean we can sit back and ignore what is going on in the world around us; that it doesn’t apply? Not in my view.

The power of applications…

The nature of insurance plans mean they are intangible. All consumers buy from us as insurers is a promise: I am covered if something happens to me.  Even the most ardent insurance "fan" will tell you that this is a difficult concept to square ("I’ll give you money each month, in return for hoping to never have to use your product, you give me product literature written in language I can’t understand…"). Let’s face it; you wouldn't be queuing up to spend your hard-earned cash in this way unless you felt you had to.

So as insurers how can we help advisers in bringing these products to life for their clients? Well, there are many possible ways, but surely one is through the use of applications. Why?

Applications when accessed through mobile devices and tablets offer something else - the ability to touch and interact with your product. Now, how we (as insurers) choose to use the technology is really up to each one of us individually, but you have to ask, given this potential to help engage a disinterested, unexcited audience, is it really okay for us to simply roll-out application versions of websites or PDFs of product literature? Or should we do more and offer more functionality and the ability for advisers to get closer?

I appreciate that there's only so much you can do and that protection insurance is never going to be sexy. It's even unlikely that you will ever make the consumer feel excited about buying it.

But, what we can do is help advisers to convert more leads, to interest and finally to sales. Technology and applications give us one great way to help.

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