North American SnAppshot, Life Version: Mobile Apps for Life Insurance and Annuity Consumers

 Karen Monks, February 28, 2011
Industry Trends
North America

Abstract

Celent finds a less mature state of development for life insurers in new world of smartphone applications.

The mobile web is evolving at an extraordinary rate, and each evolution has brought new possibilities to insurers. Smartphones received significant focus in 2010 and sales of smartphones are expected to outpace feature phones in 2011. Celent found that many leading property/casualty insurers are publishing feature-rich apps, but what are life insurers doing? Where are life insurers in the development lifecycle of smartphone apps? What features are available to or are most desired by life insurance consumers?

To answer these questions, Celent reviewed publicly available information about life insurer mobile apps. Celent reviewed the platform stores and websites of 11 life insurers, and we found a far less mature state of mobile application adoption than we did when we performed a similar search in the property/casualty segment. In a new report, North American SnAppshot: Life Edition, Celent provides an overview of these findings and describes the requirements of North American life insurance customers.

"The life and annuity industry is something of a blank canvas in terms of mobile applications," says Craig Weber, Senior Vice President of Celent's insurance practice. "Given the relatively low cost of experimenting in this channel, and the enthusiasm of agents and consumers for putting their mobile 'toys' to work, life insurers should be a bit further along than they are in the space."

“We see the life insurers with apps falling into a spot somewhere between laggard and cautious investor in terms of development, but most life insurers are not even on the chart because they do not have apps.” says Karen Monks, Analyst with Celent’s Insurance Group and coauthor of the report. “While the startup phase of P&C consumer-facing mobile applications has progressed rapidly, we believe the startup phase for life insurers will take much more time to develop.”

This report provides an overview of available mobile apps, their use by insurers, and current trends and routes to adoption. It also offers some guidance on how these technologies can be used by insurers.

Celent is a research and advisory firm dedicated to helping financial institutions formulate comprehensive business and technology strategies. Celent publishes reports identifying trends and best practices in financial services technology and conducts consulting engagements for financial institutions looking to use technology to enhance existing business processes or launch new business strategies. With a team of internationally based analysts, Celent is uniquely positioned to offer strategic advice and market insights on a global basis. Celent is a member of the Oliver Wyman Group, which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Marsh & McLennan Companies [NYSE: MMC].

Media Contacts

North America
Michele Pace
mpace@celent.com
Tel: +1 212 345 1366

Europe (London)
Chris Williams
cwilliams@celent.com
Tel: +44 (0)782 448 3336

Asia (Tokyo)
Yumi Nagaoka
ynagaoka@celent.com
Tel.: +81 3 3500 3023

Table of Contents

Executive Summary

3

Introduction

4

Mobile Apps

6

 

Do Mobile Apps Matter?

6

 

When Did Software Turn into Apps?

6

 

Lessons from History?

7

Insurers and Their Mobile Apps

9

 

Approach

9

 

Platform Support

11

 

The Evolution of Features

12

 

iPhone Apps

12

 

Android Apps

13

 

RIM Apps

14

 

App Functionality

15

Do You Need an App for That?

17

 

Consumer Interest

17

 

Consumer Feedback

17

Final Thoughts

18

Looking Ahead

19

Leveraging Celent’s Expertise

21

 

Support for Financial Institutions

21

 

Support for Vendors

21

Related Celent Research

22

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