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CIO of Mobile Innovator 1st Guard Talks Strategy, Trade-Offs

1st Guard CIO Dan Ribar discusses how the truck insurer's unique customer base has shaped a comprehensive mobile strategy that includes web site, device, content management and the latest enhancements to its TRUCKER1 iPhone app.

Dan Ribar
Dan Ribar, 1st Guard
Based on size alone, Venice, Fla.-based 1st Guard Corporation might seem an unlikely example of insurance carrier innovation. However, 1st Guard's trucker-only customer base has driven the carrier's development of a leading-edge mobile solution that transcends mobile devices to encompass all the processes, documents and communications. CIO Dan Ribar recently spoke with I&T about the evolution of 1st Guard's mobile strategy, the new version of its TRUCKER1 mobile app first launched in 2009, and some of the tradeoffs the insurer has made in seeking to maximize service to its mobile customers.

Insurance & Technology: Tell us a little about how 1st Guard's mobile strategy emerged.

Dan Ribar: 1st Guard is unique in the truck insurance space for all of our customers being truckers. Our primary products — physical damage and non-trucking liability coverage — are specific to truckers only. One hundred percent of our customers are on the road, away from home and remote. Where most people think of mobile devices as their strategy, we consider our customers themselves as "mobile" and therefore our mobile strategy is holistic and all encompassing.

I&T: What initially inspired 1st Guard to commit to mobile service capabilities?

DR: I have to credit Apple for its influence on 1st Guard's mobile strategy and its transformative impact. The advent of the iPhone was a revolution in how we all connect and communicate. That inspired our original 2009 mobile strategy of the "Well Connected Trucker," which has evolved to what we call our "Let's Communicate" strategy in 2012. The name change indicates how we've moved from a concept of simply getting connected to establishing a deeper kind of communication.

I&T: What are the main features of your mobile strategy?

DR: There are several main components to our strategy, in terms of functionality offered. TRUCKER1 is our free flagship iPhone app that connects truckers to 1st Guard and to his family. In a few seconds, truckers can: connect with their family over social networks; view all of their vehicle coverage; email coverage data to anywhere (typically their safety director or lien holder); connect to an agent queue with one click; manage account settings; start a new claim with geo-coded data, pictures and recordings; and also see the status of their performance with 1stGuard. TRUCKER1 is only available on the iPhone platform.

[For more on 1st Guard's mobile strategy see: iPhone Insurance App Helps Truckers for the Long Haul and 1st Guard Adds DocuSign Electric Signature Capabilities.]

The 1st Guard PowerCenter website is our customer-specific portal providing most of the same functionality offered within TRUCKER1 but adding a more robust document management solution.

The 1st Guard public website has a mobile version that has some unique features for truckers. They can start a new claim and receive specific documents without logging in. We have an authentication algorithm that makes things simple and fast by avoiding the typical login and navigation routine.

Our mobile strategy extends to other capabilities that support the remote end user including electronic signatures [supported by DocuSign technology], automated SMS & voice alerting and even a radio show available to that mobile trucker.

Customer Connection
New features of TRUCKER1 include instant connection to the customer service telephone queue and easier document distribution.

Anthony O'Donnell has covered technology in the insurance industry since 2000, when he joined the editorial staff of Insurance & Technology. As an editor and reporter for I&T and the InformationWeek Financial Services of TechWeb he has written on all areas of information ... View Full Bio

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