Today, having the Internet in the palm of one’s hand no matter where they are has become a necessity. For insurance agents, this means providing clients with a mobile app to manage their business.

To explain why this is so important to agencies and their staff, Matt Aaron and Kiki Johnson, founders of Insurance Agency Mobile App, spoke at the Insurance Agent Summit about how providing consumers with a mobile app could have an agency leaps and bounds ahead of their competition.

“The new tech people or the ‘disrupters’ as they’re being called, coming into the industry are all starting with a mobile component,” Johnson said. “The basis of everything that they are doing is mobile and they look at the independent agent as too far behind to not even catch up and do not see them as a concern.”

Bloomberg/file photo

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Johnson said the priority for all agencies is to provide a mobile app in order to gain new clients as well as retain the ones already on board if they hope to remain competitive with new start-ups coming into the industry.

“Customers really do expect new ways to interact,” Aaron said. “They are being trained to interact in new ways and all consumers want to see immediacy, simplicity and context, and it all relates to convenience.”

Mobile proliferation
As Aaron and Johnson provided viewers with a diagram of all of the tech companies that are disrupting the insurance industry and Brian Appleton, the host of the Insurance Agent Summit, was taken aback by how many companies were listed.

“I’ve seen the numbers before of $2.65 billion going into the insurance space, but I have never seen a visual of all of these companies and how they are so focused on mobile, I mean this is a lot of companies coming into our space,” Appleton said. “I hope all of our viewers out there are saying, ‘Wow,’ and realize how focused people are on mobile and how big of a deal this really is.”

Johnson said all insurance company websites should be mobile optimized, meaning when a client visits the site on a mobile device, there should be a sign or window that pops up directing the client to download the agency’s mobile app to build a better engagement with the clients.

“Your mobile-optimized website is your source for information,” Johnson said. “It’s where 80% of service starts [and] people are looking for information and cruising the website, but they use apps to get things done.”

Having access to an app will provide clients with the ability to manage their account by completing actions such as bill pay and claim services, which will increase in activity once the agency’s management systems become more sophisticated.

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One of the biggest threats to an agency is not directing a client to the app and allowing them to continue to access their insurance needs via the web because of Google Analytics. Aaron said Google advertises to viewers based on the sites they visit and if they continually visit insurance websites they will continue to see advertisements for insurance companies other than the one they are already with.

“According to Google, 51% of mobile searchers end up purchasing with a company other than the one they intended to buy from initially,” Aaron said. “If that doesn’t get your attention I don’t know what will.”

Johnson added, if an agency forces their clients to search the web for their products they are being put back out into the market to be retargeted by competitors, while an app will contain a client within the view of the primary agency.

“They have one space that contains them and contains all of the information they need,” Johnson said. “They are going directly to your blog, your policy pages and all of the information within your agency, and it contains them so they don’t get retargeted.”

Aaron said the best example insurance companies can look at to see where mobile activity is heading for the insurance space, is online banking and how banking from a mobile app has accelerated to the point that people rarely have to visit an actual bank to complete their needs.

“[Bank of America] now have, on a weekly basis, 43% of their customers engaging via the app, which is 72 million times a week versus the minimal amount of times people are walking into the bank,” Aaron said. “People still go to the bank once every six months, not because they won’t go to the brick and mortar, it’s because they don’t need to.”

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