Flexible pricing, coverage and business models: Leveraging emerging tech for your insurance policy
Offering one-touch access to on-demand services, open marketplaces and flexible pricing solutions, mobile technology now provides consumers with countless solutions that can simplify many aspects of everyday life, from finding transportation to selecting a healthcare provider. According to Greatcall, more than 52 percent of smartphone users now seek out health-related information on their mobile devices. As a result, you can now order nearly anything, from a chauffeured ride to a virtual online appointment with a medical professional from essentially anywhere there is mobile internet access.
Though these mobile trends are revolutionary, what do they mean for consumer insurance and surrounding coverage? For customers looking to leverage these emerging technologies and services, it will be paramount to understand the implications and how they’ll reshape policies and flexible pricing solutions going forward.
Connected to the cloud and capable of leveraging analytics solutions to track user behavior and activity, many forward-thinking mobile apps and solutions promise to change the way the insurance business operates. In fact, according to a study published by Springer, among insurance salespeople, smartphones have already become essential tools that are helping to transform day-to-day operations by supporting strategy, operations, learning, communication, task performance and workplace efficiency.
For example, the following are just a few ways general, medical, property and auto insurance providers can benefit from implementing programs surrounding them:
- Enhanced ability to weigh and measure risks and create customized programs, solutions and flexible pricing models keyed to specific individuals.
- Improved capabilities with regard to monitoring user activity and understanding the contexts surrounding claims, including better insight when determining fault or damages. TechZone360 recently reported that insurance carriers are already in the process of implementing wearable device-based strategies.
- Increased cost savings and efficiency through the use of cloud technologies and other scalable online solutions.
- Deeper insights into which programs, features, outreach efforts and pricing models are connecting with customers.
However, at the same time, mobile access to a variety of solutions that allow users to tap into broader networks of services and service providers can also introduce additional nuances from an insurance provider’s standpoint. According to Mendix, 77 percent of customers are now willing to trade sensitive information for lower premiums, faster claims settlements and more tailored coverage recommendations.
These potential hiccups may include the following:
- The introduction of unforeseen scenarios, such as the provision of services by individuals who aren’t professionally licensed, bonded or trained through classical institutions.
- The use of facilities, equipment and resources that may not come from traditional sources or be as highly regulated or monitored as those offered by traditional providers.
- A wider range of potential at-risk scenarios under which individuals may increase the odds of incidents or claims.
- Unexpected or unforeseen uses of property of equipment, such as the loan or rental of one’s home or automobile to third parties.
As you might imagine, it’s now increasingly vital for users to comprehend their insurance policies and to be literate to related terms with regard to the use of these innovative new mobile apps and services. You might ask the following questions:
- Are specific uses or exchanges that occur through these online apps covered under the terms of your insurance policy, and to what extent?
- Are providers whose services are solicited through these mobile apps and solutions considered in-network or out-of-network? Or, under the terms of the policy, are they considered an approved provider at all?
- Which specific uses of goods, services and resources are covered under the terms of one’s insurance plan and to what degree, and which may violate or operate under the special terms of the agreement?
- Under these flexible pricing models and business solutions, what level of coverage is provided, which caps on payouts exist and which amount of deductibles can be expected?
- How should claims be handled, filed and processed when these mobile apps and services factor into the equation? Who should handle them — your insurance provider, or one provided through the mobile solution?
- What kinds of coverage are available, and what about extended coverage options?
- When is it appropriate to explore extended coverage choices, and what level of extended coverage should be offered?
- Should you consider fixed-price or flexible pricing models when shopping for related insurance?
- What kinds of insurance benefits do you enjoy when using these services? For example, do money-back guarantees or fraud protection clauses still apply?
- Where can you turn for help when disputes arise?
Naturally, the introduction of on-the-go access to mobile services has helped simplify everyday life for today’s shopper. However, the dawn of these technologies has also introduced some additional concerns that both enterprises and individuals should know — particularly with 85 percent of insurers making customer experience a top strategic initiative and 88 percent of customers demanding more personalization from providers, according to Mendix.
However, a little awareness and literacy can go a long way toward alleviating these issues. When it comes to insurance plans and flexible pricing models, the more literate and aware you are, the happier you’ll be — and the more you’ll be able to get out of your policy.