A big part of successfully riding the wave of digital disruption is the ability to deliver information to customers in the way they want to receive it. In today’s world, with everyone glued to their smart phones, this means mobile apps.

Based on some of the innovative apps that auto insurers are developing to engage their customers, this seems to be a part of digital disruption that our industry “gets.” Although some of these apps, driven by telematics and based on usage and driving behavior, are directly related to insurance itself, others exist purely as an added service to the driver.

A recent article in NerdWallet took a look at some of what they call the “coolest” mobile car insurance apps, available for both iOS and Android platforms. Topping the list is an app that helps new car shoppers zero in on their dream drive. Users who see a car they like can take a picture of the back of the car to capture the make and model; the app then displays the car’s Edmunds market value and lists local dealerships carrying it. The fact that the app is free to any user, not just the insurer’s customers, shows that the carrier understands the need to connect with all drivers, to educate and provide useful information.

Other auto insurers are leveraging apps in similar ways. One company lets insureds chat in real time with appraisers after filing a claim. Using video, customers can have the initial inspection over the smartphone, and the appraiser can provide a repair estimate that day. Another insurer ties its mobile app to premiums by tracking behavior, offering tips on how to improve, and rewarding customers for good driving by offering discounts or cash back on premiums.

Another driving behavior app goes a step further by measuring specific driving areas such as acceleration, deceleration and swerving. Users simply lay the phone flat on a secure spot, and the app tracks and scores them in each category, offering suggestions for improvement. The app is available to anyone, not just customers who have purchased a policy with the carrier.

Have you discovered any other cool auto insurance apps? Please feel free to share here!

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