Is the future of insurance truly mobile?...

Every generation experiences one or more game-changing events that marks that generation out from those that have gone before and shapes the lives of those that have yet to come. Technology, in its broadest form, is the ultimate game-changer for today's Facebook generation as it facilitates the automation of mundane tasks, creates new means of communication and introduces us to new and exciting leisure activities. 

In the past decade, we have witnessed an unprecedented growth in Internet usage and, in particular, an all-consuming obsession with social media which many commentators say is being driven by large corporations and their economic dream of a perfect "business model" that will enable them harness the world's "personal preferences" and "social habits" and convert them into bottom-line profits. Facebook's stuttering start to life as a public company and the niggling concerns over its future revenue sources highlight the difficulty that many global (and indeed local) firms face in the current "age of technology" especially when it comes to deciding on the right e-commerce business model and investing in a solution that is both profitable and sustainable. 

While the edges are continually blurred between the functionality offered by smart phones, tablets and net books not to mention the "herd-like" adoption of new trends such as cloud computing, consumers are getting (and demanding) more and more information via social media platforms. Mobile technology means that consumers now have the opportunity to have more information available to them than ever before. The fact that the majority of Facebook users now access the social media site via mobile devices instead of by computer, shows that consumer demand for sales and services through mobile devices is perhaps also the future for all insurance businesses.

Policyholders who are spending more of their time on smart phones and tablets expect high levels of automation, 24/7 communication and seamless connectivity as a way of life. Those expectations are all about access anywhere, anytime and from any device. Unfortunately, insurance companies are not particularly adept at technology innovation, so consumerisation has insurers reacting to what their customers (and partners) are demanding. In the past, insurers have controlled the data and devices that accessed it. Now, consumers control the devices that have the ability to access the insurer's (and their own) data and many insurers are scrambling to allow this new generation of consumers to do so in a controlled yet fulfilling and secure way. However, most insurance companies are not in a good place to securely offer access and increased investment in document and content management technologies will be required if they are to survive in this new "mobile-world". 

However, mobile technology is not a "silver bullet" for the insurance industry, but rather a new and exciting technology that should be leveraged by insurers for their own particular best interests and those of their customers. Mobile is unlikely to be a passing fad or be replaced by some new technological innovation. Rather, it is more a fundamental or generational-shift in the expectations of both policyholders and employees of the future. This means that Insurers are going to have to embrace this evolution sooner rather than later if they want to get more control over data and offer the types (and level) of services demanded by their customers. 

As such, mobile technology should be a priority for insurance businesses given how quickly it is being assimilated by consumers into their daily lives. Companies resisting these changes are at the margins and will not be in control of their own fate. In today's society, the "online world" is no longer something that should be viewed as being separate from the "offline" world.