Despite the growing range and sophistication of leading (US) insurance companies’ mobile offerings, consumer adoption of mobile insurance services is still low. What makes the mobile solution relevant to the customer? Forrester has identified three elements that determine the convenience of a service or product: immediacy, simplicity, and context. For insurance, the mobile channel offers all three: 1) the immediacy of instant access to your insurance company when it matters, such as when an accident occurs; 2) the simplicity of completing tasks in just a few steps, such as filling out a claims form via your smartphone on location and accompanying it with photos of the incident; and 3) context, as mobile can give customers near-immediate directions and relief when a stressful event occurs. However, a big challenge remains: Do customers feel compelled in the first place to download an app for an event they probably don’t want to happen. We looked at data from Forrester’s North American Technographics® Financial Services Online Benchmark Recontact Survey Q3 2011 (US) and found that:

Consumers are interested in mobile insurance, but adoption is low. In the US, just 1% of online adults who have a mobile phone say they have used their phone to file or check on an insurance claim; a further 15% are interested in doing so. This is in contrast to mobile banking. For banking activities like viewing bank accounts, 10% of US online consumers with mobile phones say they use their phone for this purpose, and a further 18% are interested in doing so.

Younger generations are leading mobile insurance adoption. Certain segments show a marked interest in adoption of mobile insurance. Gen Yers are the most interested age group. They see mobile as a logical extension of existing distribution channels, and they expect to be able to communicate and transact with their insurer via mobile devices in the near future.

Tablets will fuel the rate of adoption of mobile insurance. Forrester forecasts that 11% of the European population will own a tablet device in 2012, increasing to 30% by 2016. In the US, our forecasts range from 20% of consumers owning a tablet device in 2012 to 35% by 2016. The popularity of tablets with consumers will give eBusiness and channel strategy teams the opportunity to find new ways to engage with their customers.

Although mobile insurance won’t involve a revolution, we think it is time for eBusiness and channel strategy teams to step up a gear. Let's try to engage with customers via compelling and relevant mobile experiences. Done well, even on low interest products like insurance, you can convert those customers who are interested in mobile insurance — and generate happy and loyal customers. I’d love to hear your views on this; let me know if you’d like to share interesting mobile insurance stories.