Vice President at Lightico. Proven business leader driving tech in enterprises. Born into Fortune 500s — now building tech companies.

Ordering takeout from your favorite sushi restaurant? Scanning for flight and hotel deals for a much-needed weekend getaway? Checking out a snazzy new pair of touchscreen gloves (because, you know, winter is coming)? Chances are you’re doing all of this from the one device you use the most — your mobile smartphone. Today, that’s also how you look for the best insurance options for you.

According to the Pew Research Center, 85% of Americans today own a smartphone, and Statista found that roughly half of its survey respondents spend five to six hours on their phones each day. As insurance consumers, we now expect to intuitively engage an insurer or broker on our mobile phone — be it to apply for a new policy or to file a claim for benefits.

What happens when the experience we receive on an insurance app is a far cry from the seamless one we’ve grown to expect from Amazon and our go-to consumer apps? Dissatisfaction and frustration chip away at our patience and loyalty.

Many of us decide we can do better, so we abandon our insurer’s cumbersome app and seek other providers or insurtech challengers such as Lemonade or Next. In fact, a Bain & Company survey found that millennials are generally more open to buying insurance from new entrants to the industry.


Mobile Insurance Investments Are Not In-Step With Customer Needs

Insurers and brokers have invested in mobile app projects in recent years, but are they delivering the mobile experiences today’s customers expect?

In our survey of insurance professionals across the U.S., only 11.5% of insurers, brokers and agents indicated new policies are completed using a mobile app. At 39%, more insurance sales are completed over the phone. For crucial customer service processes like processing claims, only 10% of professionals stated these requests are submitted on mobile.

The data points to a harsh current state of affairs for insurers. Customers are still flooding contact centers with calls or choosing to visit the office, undermining the objectives of these investments. If customers are more mobile than ever, why are insurers’ mobile solutions the method they use the least?

Four Reasons Why Apps Fail Insurance Customers

Five years ago, mobile apps were an innovative step up. However, when it comes to the entire customer-facing flow, they fail customers and insurance companies in four crucial ways.

1. They fail to integrate with all steps required for completion. Most insurance apps deploy an e-signature solution. However, collecting signatures is just one of many steps often required of insurance customers applying for a policy or making a claim. Typically, they must also:

• Provide a copy of their government-issued ID.

• Provide supporting documents from multiple sources. 

• Grant binding consent to policy agreements.

Since apps don’t cover all other steps required to complete an insurance process end-to-end, customer journeys are broken and not mobile.

2. They rely on outdated PDF forms and are usually printed anyway. Mobile insurance apps generally still rely on PDF-based forms that the customer must complete. Reading and understanding long and cumbersome agreements in a PDF format is especially uncomfortable from a small mobile screen, and that’s even more problematic for millennials — 19% of which are smartphone-only internet users.

Because of this, many customers will hold off and wait to complete the form when they can get to their laptop or PC, risking lags in the process and delaying that insurance sale or claim from being completed.

3. They bounce customers to the app store for a one-time event. A customer will first visit their app store to download their insurer’s mobile app. Soon after, though, they’ll be asked to hop to the app store yet again to download an e-sign app just to satisfy one of several requirements needed from them to complete the process.

Not only is downloading an app just to sign a document an incomplete solution, but it’s also an unwelcome imposition on customers. Customers don’t want to fill up their personal smartphone’s storage with apps for what essentially is a one-time use.

4. Busy mobile insurance apps are neither seamless nor completely digital. There’s nothing more painful than investing great amounts of money and effort only for the end product to feel like one big misguided effort to your customer. Unlike consumer apps, insurance apps must worry about compliance in many — if not most — steps required by customers. That’s why a customer usually needs to sign in and enter their password every time they use an insurance app. Most log in seldomly, forget their password and then have to request to reset or retrieve it.

To Compete, Insurers Need A Completely New Mobile Strategy

1. Insurers need to drive a culture of rapid adoption. This can be with various test groups of the organization for fast rollout and feedback. In today’s era of SaaS and APIs, mobile strategies can be tested and proved quickly — weeks, not years.

2. Insurers need to understand that the tech landscape evolves fast and that sunk costs cannot override sound decision-making. This is a cultural shift about embracing innovation and being candid about failures.

3. IT and innovation need to be “joined up.” IT sets the parameters in which to work, and innovation needs then to test and prove within those constructs. To keep up with expectations, these two organizations need to be partnered.

A mobile app is no longer a “wow factor.” Today, the entire experience for insurance customers needs to be not just digital but comprehensive; customers need to be able to complete every requirement asked of them to resolve their requests from their smartphone.

To do away with disjointed journeys, insurers and brokers need end-to-end solutions that guide customers from the start of a new policy sale or claim request right onto its completion straight from their mobile device.

That’s what can enable them to meet the mobile needs of today’s customers, win their long-term loyalty and get the most out of their digital investments.

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