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Leveraging the Mobile Ecosystem to Transform Insurance


Insurers have a rich opportunity to leverage the combined power of social, mobile, analytics and cloud technologies to transform their businesses.

Since the experimental stages of mobility, insurance carriers have slowly but surely transformed their operations to achieve ever greater operational efficiency. In the first mobile wave, carriers simply broadcast to advisors and customers; the second wave was dominated by the re-platforming of existing Web self-service applications through mobile apps and app stores. This introduced customers and agents to the use of mobile technologies and allowed carriers to learn from their investments. However, carriers failed to truly engage customers, producers and employees, drive growth or dramatically reduce cost of operations.

Enter the SMAC Stack™, a new IT architecture comprised of social, mobile, analytics and cloud technologies, and two emerging external forces which are combining to facilitate a more powerful and extended mobile ecosystem.

Force #1: Smartphone and Tablet Adoption Reach Critical Mass

700 million smartphones were shipped worldwide in 2012 alone. 57% percent of U.S. mobile subscribers and a staggering 92% of U.S. financial advisors use a smartphone. Users are also spending more time on their mobile devices than ever before — total time spent on mobile applications increased 120% between 2011 and 2012; social media usage by 83%.

Force #2: Other Industries Already Shaping Consumer Behavior

The retail, consumer goods and healthcare industries are among the early adopters of SMAC-based capabilities to transform customer experience and create efficient business models. The following examples demonstrate how some brands have brought about disruptive change.

  • Nike and user engagement: The FuelBand, an electronic bracelet, measures users' movement, motivates them to be more active, and rewards them with "fuel points" for it. It then encourages the customer to connect, compare results and inspire friends through Nike's mobile platform integrated with social media. Nike connects over 200 million customers daily; monitoring conversations for "wisdom of crowds" to inform product innovations.

  • Proteus and Novartis prove efficacy of pharma: An ingestible sensor, created by Proteus Biomedical in collaboration with companies such as Novartis, transmits a unique signal to a patch worn on the patient's skin, which then sends psychological and behavioral metrics to a mobile app. This helps caregivers and clinicians monitor the efficacy of a drug on a patient from time to time.

  • Retailing "game-changers": SMAC-powered platforms help retailers optimize the use of multiple channels to influence shopping behavior and loyalty programs. Mobile apps such as Shopkick and Cardlytics help increase foot traffic by rewarding store visits or providing online offers that are redeemable offline.

Opportunities for Insurance Transformation

When reflecting on the use of the mobile ecosystem by other industries, we have identified seven transformational themes (see Figure 1) for insurers to consider while prioritizing their investments in the mobile ecosystem. These themes act as a checklist to be considered before investing in mobility for business transformation. Below are examples of how insurers can convert SMAC theories into practice.

Figure 1

Example #1: Predict and Prevent claims

Using SMAC technologies, insurers can collect data from various sources that can be used to predict and prevent claims (see Figure 2). For instance, carriers can predict and prevent potential risk by reviewing data from multiple sources such as traffic cameras, satellite and weather reports, social media forums, and location–based services, and relaying a cautionary message to the customer.

Figure 2

Example #2: Optimize the Claims Experience

Carriers can optimize the claims experience through increased process automation across the claims "value chain," focusing on first notice of loss (FNOL), claims appraisal and claims settlement.

  • FNOL: When a loss event occurs, the telematics devices in the automobiles can initiate the FNOL process automatically, inviting the carrier to proactively manage the claim.

  • Appraisal: The automated claims appraiser assignment process would ensure the best appraisers are assigned, based on skills, location and customer availability. For claims that fit certain rules and limits, the customer can also transmit images in real-time to the appraiser using their mobile device.

  • Settlement: The claims settlement process would get "smarter" and leverage analytics to help choose the right vendor for various services.

This optimized claims experience would not only help settle claims faster and more efficiently, it will also reduce loss adjustment expenses and the probability of fraud.

Example #3: 'Buying' a Retirement Experience

The mobile ecosystem all set to transform retirement planning: In the near future, customers will build a "retirement experience" based on the collective wisdom of the online community involving:

  • The Facebook model: Hear about others' retirement experiences.

  • The Amazon and Netflix recommendation model: Retirement solution providers share what others like you have done.

  • The eBay marketplace model: Providers bid to satisfy customer needs.

  • The Foursquare model: Customers endorse their retirement providers and are rewarded for their loyalty.

Figure 3 reveals the potential transformational impact of these three examples against our seven transformational themes.

Figure 3

SMAC technologies have transformed business models and customer experiences in several industries, and the insurance sector has much to gain from the effective use of the extended mobile ecosystem. For details about leveraging SMAC technologies to transform insurance and a strategy to maximize impact, please read our whitepaper "Leveraging the Mobile Ecosystem to Transform Insurance".

To learn more about The New Auto Insurance Ecosystem, read the full version of the white paper, The New Auto Insurance Ecosystem: Telematics, Mobility and the Connected Car (PDF). Also visit Cognizant's insurance practice and Cognizant's mobility practice for more insights.


1 "The Social Media Report 2012," Nielsen, Dec. 3, 2012,

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