Canadian Underwriter

Why insurance apps need to be extremely simple to learn

March 9, 2021   by Greg Meckbach

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For the P&C industry, one of the biggest challenges of going digital is the relatively few times a client interacts with an insurer provider, a fintech webinar speaker suggested Tuesday.

When the financial industry started offering electronic cheque deposit, “it was a little bumpy” at first, but eventually consumers got good at it because they were using it on a regular basis, said Kyle Schmitt, vice president and global managing director at J.D. Power.

By contrast, with insurance, there are not that many discrete tasks that the client has to do, Schmitt said during P&C in 2021-What InsureTech can learn from FinTech, hosted online Mar. 9 by Cambridge Mobile Telematics.

“The hurdle is, any user interface that an insurance customer picks up has to be almost insanely intuitive, because they might only use it once or twice a year,” said Schmitt.

Securities trading apps may initially seem cumbersome for users, said Schmitt. “But you start figuring it out pretty quickly and off you go running. Contrast that with an insurance service, where you just don’t interact that often.”

The claims space contains a fair amount of room for technology development, said Schmitt. “Right now, we have really just by-and-large digitized some analogue processes at best.”

But in the future, he added, insurers will make more information available to clients, in real time, and let clients make more decisions using an app. “I just don’t think we have quite made it there yet.”

First notice of loss is one example of where an auto insurer can increase engagement with consumers. Using an app, an insurer could ask the customer where they want to repair the vehicle and what day and time works best for them.

The insurer might also let the client know their vehicle is a good candidate for a total loss, said Schmitt. “Here is our new car program. Here is our cash offer. There are lots of options that all take place in the background, but have not made it to the forefront.”

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