By Cyril Tuohy
The number of top-100 life insurers with agent- or producer-focused mobile apps has more than doubled in two years to 27, and that number is expected to rise as more carriers add new tools and features, according to a new report.
On the flip side of the technological trend, 73 percent of the top 100 life insurance carriers as measured by direct written premium currently do not offer any producer-focused apps. Apps offered by the top insurers can be broken down into marketing, information and transactional apps, the report said.
“Many insurers have begun to move to mobile, but many have not. Insurers can no longer sit by and let mobility evolve without taking part,” said Karen Monks, an analyst with the financial services consultant Celent, and co-author of the report, “Mobile Insurance Technology for the Life Insurance Producer.”
Monks co-authored the report along with her colleague Bill Fearnley Jr. The report is the latest in a series of studies on mobile device adoption by the financial service industry.
The mobile landscape is changing quickly as software developers come up with new apps targeted at mobile platforms morphing into a variety of sizes and formats. Cell phones, tablets and even a hybrid referred to as the “phablet” have been hits with consumers.
As more consumers expect their financial advisors to adopt mobile technologies, agents and brokers expect insurance carriers to step up their development of mobile apps. Studies conducted by other consulting firms as well as Celent have shown that advisors prefer doing business with insurance companies that have robust mobile capabilities.
“Insurers must catch up if they are to meet the demands of their producers and consumers, who are both increasingly open to a wide variety of contact points,” Monks said, in a statement introducing the report.
Many companies are under pressure to provide apps and support for “smart” devices for advisors, as advisor apps are “critical” to the future of firms that manage wealth, Fearnley wrote in a previous report issued May 31.Higher-net-worth clients are more likely to be demanding of their advisor when it comes to mobile technologies, the report found. The communication aspect of mobile apps has emerged as especially important to advisors as clients are pushing them to update these apps more frequently due to market volatility.
Cyril Tuohy is a writer based in Pennsylvania. He has covered the financial services industry for more than 15 years. He can be reached at [email protected].
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