"The mobile phone is a tool of convenience, but it's also intensely personal," said Russ Schreiber, who manages FICO's insurance practice. "People like to have information and control at their fingertips. With emerging mobile technology, it's possible for insurance providers to deliver what their customers want – for example, to develop apps that send alerts as well as allowing more routine interactions like policy renewal."
Demand for information delivered via mobile apps, text messages and social media is growing most significantly among younger people. For example, people aged 18 to 24 felt an SMS (16 percent) from their insurer would be most convenient, which was nearly twice the rate of the 40 to 54 demographic. People over 40 still prefer to receive notifications on insurance renewals via email (43 percent) or post (32 percent).
"While not everyone has started using mobile devices to interact with their insurance providers, those who do report a significant increase in customer satisfaction," said Schreiber. "For example, alerts that keep customers up-to-date on their claims are growing. Insurers that create this type of dialogue receive higher recommendation ratings, which often lead to improved sales. Mobile is a way to be more present and remind the customer why their insurance is valuable."
Notwithstanding the benefits, the survey revealed that the mobile channel is underutilized by insurers. Some 65 percent of consumers worldwide say they have never used their smartphone to manage or interact with their insurer. Only 9 percent said they have managed their policy using their smartphone.
"While many insurance firms have built mobile applications, consumer usage is fairly low, as the function of these apps is typically limited to filing a claim or renewing a policy," said Schreiber. "However, thanks to analytic technology, insurance providers have new opportunities to tailor services to individual customers, strengthen loyalty, and ultimately, sell more."
The most advanced insurers are building 360-degree views of the customer and delivering useful, relevant information and experiences. Examples include helpful tips on safety and property protection delivered during severe weather events; useful guides that show customers how to do things like change a tire on their car; and location-aware apps that deliver active recommendations such as travel insurance when you enter an airport.
The survey looked at consumer preferences and tendencies with regards to mobile, online and in-person interactions with insurance providers. It surveyed 2,239 adult smartphone users in the UK, Australia, Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Russia, Turkey and the United States.
The insurance preferences of smartphone consumers from the US, Australia, Brazil, China and the UK can be explored in further detail at a special interactive website: www.fico.com/mobileIQ.
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