People are spending more time on their smart phones, which is understandable given how it has become a gadget which feeds us everything: news, e-commerce, games, etc. Hence, it is no wonder that every company worth its salt has launched its own app. Insurance companies are no different. Realising the deep penetration of smart phones, insurance companies are using mobile apps as an additional channel for interaction with their policyholders.
But what can an insurance app be used for? To begin with, there are the simpler options: premium payment and policy modifications. But it is claim settlement that makes the apps most useful. Sandip Chakraborty, Head of Information Technology and Project Management Office, Bharti AXA General Insurance, says, "With seamless integration between mobile apps and insurers CRM (customer relationship management) and core insurance application systems, it can be effectively deployed to address customer queries and bring down the traditional contact centre cost effectively."
Consumer attitudes toward insurance are also changing. In its recent survey of consumer sentiment, The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) found that "About 15% of consumers in Western nations would, if possible, conduct all of their transactions with insurance providers...up from roughly 5% two years earlier."
The app can help you inform your insurer about the incident. Since policy details are already recorded in the app, you don't have to search around for the policy and the customer service number. Not only claim intimation, you can also check your claim history using the app. You can also use their location services. For example, in case of an emergency, the nearest hospitals, garages, among other things, can be located by using the app.
Aditya Sharma, head digital marketing, Bajaj Allianz General, says, "A mobile app enables the customer to notify the insurance company from the accident site without having to contact the customer service team. It also helps the insurer to process the claim faster, thereby reducing the overall turnaround time for processing the claim." From the insurers' end, mobile app can enable survey by surveyors. Through the mobile app, surveyors can fill the assessment form and upload the photographs taken through mobile and submit the same from the garage itself. Similarly, claim apps are very handy in case of authorising hospitals for cashless treatment to patients. But what about life insurance? Snehil Gambhir, COO, Aviva Life Insurance, says, "While a life insurance app is not specifically prepared for claim settlement, it can contain instructions on how to make a claim and can help the user quickly reach the insurer."
The mobile apps enable policyholders to directly access, and modify, all the necessary information about their policy like premium due dates, fund values, branch location and network hospitals. Some of the apps also allow policy modification. Self-service options such as updating of contact details or making a query or complaint are provided.
Policy holders can pay premium for existing insurance policies, or buy new policies using their app. Features such as reminders at the time of policy renewal ensure that you do not miss the premium due date.
FUTURE ROLE OF APPS
Experts say underwriting is another area where insurers can make the most of digitisation. A report from BCG says, "Auto insurers are starting to use data gathered by telematic devices and mobile-phone applications to determine premiums for new clients-that could make it possible for safe drivers to pay lower premiums." While this may be the future of insurance apps, instaling it for the time being can help you get renewal alerts, product information and make claims.