Positioning for growth in the current business environment will require insurers to embrace some not-yet-completely proven technologies and tools, such as social media and mobile -- while at the same time to be realistic and smart about managing budgets and deploying both workforce and IT resources. Attendees at Insurance & Technology's 13th annual Executive Summit, which took place in October at The Boulders Resort in Carefree, Ariz., learned about successful initiatives on both fronts.
Insurers seeking to develop mobile capabilities to engage with their customers must see the endeavor as a rapidly evolving process of constant innovation, counseled Michael B. Yetter, director of ebusiness development for Independence Blue Cross (IBC), speaking in the session "Mobile Game Changers." IBC has developed the IBX mobile portal, which enables members to find doctors, verify referrals, compare drug prices, track spending accounts, view health history and apply for a temporary ID card. "Those are the basics we need to get right and gain trust so that customers engage more with us," he said. Further steps, according to Yetter, will include a broker portal and enhancements to member "mHealth," or mobile health applications that encourage better exercise and nutrition on the part of members.
Referring to the intense competition between mobile platforms and devices, Yetter asserted that there would be no clear winner. "You'll have to develop [applications] based on customer need, and meet the platform where the customer happens to be," he said. "If you have to prioritize resources, focus on the most popular platform."
When it comes to mobile, "You'll have to develop [applications] based on customer need, and meet the platform where the customer happens to be," said IBC's Michael Yetter.
Katherine Burger is Editorial Director of Bank Systems & Technology and Insurance & Technology, members of UBM TechWeb's InformationWeek Financial Services. She assumed leadership of Bank Systems & Technology in 2003 and of Insurance & Technology in 1991. In addition to ... View Full Bio