(Las Vegas) — The entire insurance industry is working towards modernization and innovation.
The proof is at the inaugural InsureTech Connect conference happening today and Thursday in Las Vegas. Among the innovative industry companies represented: Lemonade, Bright Policy and Maddock Douglas.
Perhaps one of the most important sessions so far for today's insurance industry was "Next Gen Mobile: Marketing to the Mobile Consumer." Participating in the panel discussion were:
- Michael Simmons, CEO, Driveway, and moderator of the panel discussion
- Matt Aaron, co-founder, Insurance Agent Mobile Application
- Adam Lyons, founder and CEO, The Zebra
- Rick Natsch, CEO, Presidio Interactive & Quote Cloud
- Karn Saroya, co-founder and CEO, Cover
Here are some excerpts from the discussion.
Michael Simmons: It’s funny we think about mobile as if it’s the exception. 2015 was the year that mobile stopped being the exception and started being the norm. There are many users who only access the internet via mobile. Mobile is officially the new normal. As a company, you should not think about mobile as something you’ll get to. Your customers are there. And they're waiting.
Matt Aaron: We stay very laser focused on the need of the 40,000 independent insurance agents of America to help them redefine how they interact with their customers.
Rick Natsch: With Quote Cloud, we try to create a really fantastic mobile shopping experience for customers.
Karn Saroya: We let users take pictures of things, and we get them insurance. From autos to drones, life insurance, anything you can think of.
Simmons: People talk about mobile in their business strategy; it could mean a lot of things. What I'd love to hear is what mobile looks like to you and what it means to your business.
Natsch: For us, we see mobile as a communication device. We have the opportunity to communicate with people. Secondarily, there’s all this info that’s collected on your phone. We see that as a great opportunity to provide consumers great feedback. There are also many tools available on a phone. I think mobile is headed to the connected home, which will provide more data and more convenience for consumers.
If you haven't adapted your business to the mobile consumer, you're already behind. (Photo: iStock)
Aaron: The device is purely a conduit. It’s the software that goes into it. There are some real opportunities to capitalize on the device itself or ways of doing things very differently. The rule of thumb is: The easier it is to use, the harder it is to build.
Simmons: Can mobile fix what’s broken in the insurance industry?
Lyons: Everyone today has mobile in their hand. I think today when we think about mobile, one of the things that comes to mind is big data and, where we’d start to segment folks. When you think about the future of mobile and where it’s going — can it solve a lot of the insurance problems? We’re seeing carriers on our side rethink the funnel for folks to have a good consumer experience. One of the things about the future of mobile is education. It’s about helping folks understand what they’re purchasing and what they’re looking at. Insurance isn’t well understood by consumers, but mobile can help that.
Saroya: The answer is: You cannot think of it as simply a customer acquisition channel or you will fail. You have to start to think of mobile as the opportunity to re-engage with a consumer. You actually do need to figure out what matters to the customers. I think you need to offer some value to the customer. If you can give them a reason to keep an app on their phone, you can sell anything at any point in time.
Natsch: You stay front and center in their minds when they need you.
Simmons: You have to think about what the agent’s role is in the future — in a mobile-first society. Millennials don’t want to talk to people. What about post-millennials? What about the role of the agent in the future?
Aaron: The role of the agent will change and evolve. Agents are starting to wake up to that. What can help them with that will be mobile. When I wonder where this industry is going, I look to banking and how their customers adopted mobile. Millennials want to engage their way, on their terms. I do think there is a vital role agents will play. You’re not going to wipe them out overnight. There is a role for the digital disruptors. They are far behind, though. In fact at this conference there is essentially no representation from the individual agent. Wake up. You cannot be doing business the way you’ve been doing for so long.
Natsch: I think agents are now more necessary than ever, granted the role is changing. I think agents really want to help people. There is a purpose for them.
Saroya: I want to offer an opposing view. Agents, on the property side when it comes to commoditized products, they’re gone. Other lines, more complex lines, they have a place in the ecosystem. In my line of business, I think they're gone.
Simmons then asked the panelists to name what they thought might be "the next Segway" or "the next Amazon" in regards to several insurance modernization topics. The following is a breakdown of their responses:
- P2P: Segway
- Chatbox: Half Segway, half Amazon
- IoT: Amazon
- Ai: Amazon
- Big data: Amazon
- Blockchain: Half Segway, half Amazon
The insurance industry is indeed making strides towards modernization and innovation, and the InsureTech Connect conference is evidence of just that. Stay tuned for continuing coverage.
Let’s continue the conversation on Facebook!