“Follow the client,” is something that any business does—or should do. Insurers are well aware of the fact that their clients are using mobile devices more frequently, but what that means is often not so clear.

There are many ways in which mobility could impact the insurance business. For me, at any rate, one of the most profound is the opportunity for client intimacy. Mobile devices are personal in a way that a desktop or laptop is not, and they offer a golden opportunity to speak directly to a customer. Doing this effectively, though, first requires building tight feedback loops to link events in a customer’s life with appropriate responses. Many of these responses are best offered via the mobile channel: progress on claims, for example, or weather and financial threshold warnings.

Mobile offers insurers a way to initiate regular, positive contact with customers by offering valuable information and, once trust is built, positioning themselves as sources of advice that is immediately accessible. The availability of all relevant client information on the mobile device at the point of contact is also vital in enabling the agent or broker to close the “advice loop.” In general, mobile is a real-time world.

Social media backed by analytics offers tremendous additional opportunities for insurers, both in “listening mode” for gaining the information that insurers need as well as a way to engage clients in more frequent bi-directional exchanges around their protection and advisory needs.

Mobile apps have emerged as one of the most useful ways for companies to make services available to their clients (and their staff). It’s a way to claim real estate on client’s mobile devices—but the app needs to work well and offer a valuable service. Apps offer insurers a great way to differentiate themselves. There are a growing number of apps from various insurers and third parties that allow clients to request policy copies, make updates and report claims. Many apps also offer location-based assistance in the event of an accident, and upload of accident photos.

One third-party app I’ve seen offers a large menu of services that a broker can brand and customize to the profile of a specific client.

How an insurer approaches mobility obviously depends on its market niche and its grand strategy. But one thing should not be ignored: mobility is becoming ever more pervasive and offers many new opportunities for insurers to become indispensable to their clients.

The mobility tsunami is most evident in the changes it is prompting in how business works. Next time, we’ll talk about some of the ways in which insurers are using mobility to improve productivity.

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