Risking the arrows: pioneering mobile technology development
By Paul Tyler
Fidelity & Guaranty Life
A handful of very large carriers with international operations and with big advertising budgets have sporadically launched mobile apps. The majority of those were targeted directly at consumers and looked more like games than educational tools. Why should insurance carriers boldly enter this new space and make their own mobile apps?
1. Clients will expect it.
Consumers continue to embrace tablets and smart phones at rates faster than analysts ever predicted. In 2011, the industry projected that around 15 million tablets would be sold in 2012. The Associated Press recently estimated that Apple alone will sell close to 73 million iPads this year. More than 600,000 apps can be downloaded today. With every industry offering apps to support their products and services, how long will it be before every one of your clients asks where they can find the app for the insurance carrier that you represent?
2. Mobile apps will dramatically enhance the sales experience.
Designed properly, iPad and iPhone apps will actively encourage a collaborative sales experience. The use of a tablet will naturally lead discussions between the agent and client to take place side-by-side, not across a table. A better experience will lead to more referrals.
3. The platform will generate more sales.
Most people in the U.S. don’t have adequate insurance. Our product complexity routinely makes the top 10 list of why people don’t have enough protection in place for their families or retirement. A well-designed app can make complex topics like guaranteed income or estate planning seem simple. The intuitive interface will encourage the client to explore the features of a product and grow more comfortable with the concepts. Greater comfort should translate into greater likelihood that a prospect acts on your recommendations.
4. Mobile apps will save time and money both for the agent and the company.
Apps can make it potentially quicker to explain some of the more complicated, but important features of annuity products. The app might be able to one day eliminate at least one of the meetings that an agent may need with a client to fully explain the concepts. That means the agent has more time to spend either prospecting or just enjoying life. In the future, apps may integrate application submissions into the app to speed processing and save money.
5. Advisors who embrace this technology will be the top agents of the future.
Building a practice in the future will require an agent to effectively communicate with prospects and clients in the format in which they are comfortable engaging. This includes social media, email, Web, video and mobile platforms.
What are your favorite apps for the financial services industry? How do they help you and your company?