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

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28 February 2011


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.