insurance apps HS

Some 85% of 16-75-year olds have a smart phone and yet research from Consumer Intelligence has shown uptake of mobile apps in the insurance sector remains very low. 


When Consumer Intelligence polled 390 motor customers, we found that most of them didn’t know if their insurer had an app. And that most weren’t bothered by that either.


Only 5% said they had downloaded their insurer’s mobile app. The differences between under and over 35s was only slight, with younger customers more likely to be aware of an app and to have downloaded it. 


Does your current motor insurance provider offer a mobile app?


motor provider offer mobile app

Does your current motor insurance provider offer a mobile app? (Base: 390)


Most of those who don’t or wouldn’t use an app said they prefer to use a laptop or PC when dealing with an insurer digitally, or that they wouldn’t use an app enough to make it worthwhile downloading.

Asked what would persuade them to download an app, most responded “nothing – I just don’t need to use it.”

In the face of so much apathy, are insurers wasting their time with app development? Where are they going wrong in encouraging digital adoption, which has taken off so well in so many other sectors including banking where a report by CACI forecast that by the end of 2019 mobile banking will overtake internet banking in terms of users?


We believe the problem lies with insurers applying an analogue perspective to digital.


Rajeev Aggarwal, Managing Director of Consumer Intelligence’s Advisory business, says: “Amongst the minority of policyholders who had downloaded their insurer’s app, most had only used it to check a static policy detail, rather than using it for an interactive activity such as policy renewal, changes or claims. The reality is the practice of overlaying an app on to a traditional insurance policy is failing to engage with policyholders.”

It doesn’t need to be this way, and it isn’t like this everywhere. There is a lot that incumbents can learn from successes overseas and amongst start-ups.

In the US, home and renters insurance start-up Lemonade claimed that more than a quarter of its policyholders used its AI powered app to make policy changes. This suggests there is indeed appetite from consumers for mobile apps if they harness that technology to do things differently and ultimately make the customer journey easier.


Leigh Calton, who leads Consumer Intelligence’s horizon scanning practise, comments: “There are some really interesting insurance market developments coming from Asia and one of those with high transformative potential is the use of messenger platforms to sell and manage insurance policies.”

Chinese app WeChat, which has 750 million users, has the functionality to make a payment inside its QQ messaging app. WeChat’s owner, Tencent, also has a majority stake in the WeMin insurance agency, which gained Chinese regulatory approval in October 2017 for the distribution of insurance products. Connecting those two has transformative potential for the insurance industry.

Whilst there are examples closer to home of insurers using messenger platforms for insurance (including Co-op’s use of Facebook Messenger) they tend to act as primarily lead generation tools that transfer you to a normal web browser to complete a purchase. However, with WeChat’s functionality there is no need to start a process on one platform and then interrupt the user experience by switching to a separate platform.


Calton adds: “We predict the concept of ‘apps within apps’ will become more important for insurers and insurtechs.


This means developing your app inside another app that is already frequently used by consumers — namely messenger platforms, or perhaps even within frequently used mobile banking apps. Smarter AI and increased functionality means businesses can focus on creating a great user experience, rather than having to worry about whether they can persuade consumers to download and use their app in the first place.

“Insurers need to dig deeper to fully embrace the concept of digital and not just create an electronic version of a paper policy. Two of the keys for success will be in creating an insurance proposition that looks and feels different, as well as embedding the product within third-party apps to make it easier for the customer to engage.”


Identifying future trends and planning for them

‘Apps within apps’ is just one of over 100 important and emerging trends being tracked by Consumer Intelligence through its horizon scanning service that helps organisations to identify, understand and prepare for a dynamic future environment.

This insight, including the use of international examples, is already being used to help some of the UK’s leading companies within the insurance market create a competitive advantage. Isn’t it time you looked to the future with Consumer Intelligence?


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