The Path to 24/7 Service for Independent Agents: The Role of Mobile Apps
For the majority of consumers, their smartphone has become an extension of themselves. They use it for everything - from binge watching their favorite show on Netflix, to depositing a check through their banking app, to checking in and boarding their flight - people rely on mobile apps for everyday functions. According to comScore, American adults spend almost three hours a day on their devices to conduct day to day business.
Unfortunately independent insurance agents are not keeping up with customer demands. According to the Insurance Digital Transformation Survey, only 21% of respondents offered mobile apps for their clients - but agencies are beginning to realize the benefit to implementing this technology. Over 50% of respondents who don't have mobile apps are considering adding them as part of their digital strategy.
Mobile apps improve customer experience. They allow clients to conduct insurance business whenever and wherever they want. Most importantly it enables your client to have access to their insurance documents and services them even when you are not available. For example, if a customer is involved in a traffic stop but has lost his proof of insurance, he can pull the documents up on his phone. Without the app, the customer would have to take the ticket, and then go to court to refute it after he received new copies of the documents.
With mobile apps, customers can conduct a wide range of services from their phones such as :
- Contact the agent or the carrier
- Check account information
- File and track a claim
- Pay bills
- Review policy limits and coverages
- Quote and bind a policy
- Request policy changes or certificates
- Track contacts, voice memos, photos, details and accidents
Implementing mobile apps for customers
If you decide to create a mobile app for your customers, it is important that you do it right. Having a mobile app for the sake of a mobile app will not benefit you or your customers. Customers will not download your app if they do not believe it adds extra value.
Ask your agency management system (AMS) provider about this technology. They might already offer a client app. Also some AMS providers have mobile enabled client portals - so customers can access their insurance information through their phone's web browser. Since apps and client portals link to your AMS, these tools provide your clients with a direct connection to policy information, certificate processing, policies, and endorsements.
If your AMS does not offer a client mobile app, there are third party companies that will help you design an app that will be a valued resource for your customers. They will help you tailor the app so it meets the demands of your clients.
For a list of vendors with solutions in the marketplace, please see below.
After you get your app up and running, don't keep it hidden. Make sure you promote it to all your clients so they know you have this added capability. Advertise it in newsletters, emails, or send reminders with other insurance documents. Even if clients are not asking for it, you will be surprised by how many appreciate it.
You might also find that this technology can alleviate other costs such as having to reprint ID cards or printing and mailing policy documents. It is also what your customers are expecting, and we are not too far away from the time when a client gravitates to the agent that offers it! This becomes an excellent tool to attract new business and for retention.
Mobile apps to improve your own workload
Mobile apps not only benefit customers - but they can also help improve your workflow. Some agency management systems offer agents a mobile app which can be downloaded to their smartphones or tablets. Through these apps, agents can accomplish the same work they do sitting at their desks including:
- Viewing accounts, contact details and insurance policy information
- Access attachments and add prospects
- Create and manage activities
- Track and manage sales opportunities
- Expand risk assessment capabilities
For a list of vendors who offer this app, please see below.
In addition to agency management system apps, there are other third party programs that could aid your daily tasks. These applications make it easier to search information or provide your clients service outside of the office. Some common apps that agents find helpful include:
- Kelly Blue Book - gives quick access to auto insurance quotes and vehicle value
- Zillow - acquire property value, past and current owner information, info on local schools and neighborhood
- ACORD One - access commonly used forms which can be viewed, completed, signed, and sent through the app
- CamScanner - turns phone or tablet into a scanner so you can upload documents to the cloud on the go
Apps for Agents to Access Their Agency Management Systems
Client Self-Service Mobile Options from Agency Management System Providers
- Insurance Agent Mobile App