Geico accelerates mobile prowess with digital identification cards

Geico is gaining a leg up on insurance companies in the digital space by being the first to provide policyholders in New York State with electronic identification cards, located in its mobile application.

As a slew of other sectors become increasingly mobilized, insurance companies are scrambling to join the fray and offer additional digital options to replace physical documents and identification information. New York drivers now have the ability to keep their proof of insurance on their smartphones within Geico?s mobile app.

?It seems that it has been the decade of digitization,? said Gary Schwartz, CEO and president of Impact Mobile, New York. ?George Costanza promised us a wallet-less world in Google ads years ago.

?It is essential for brands to move to digital IDs. The insurance, financial or retail brand can use this as hub-and-spoke strategy to attach mobile applications to drive loyalty and CRM extensions.?

Mobile convenience outpouring
Geico is the first insurance provider in the state of New York to enable customers to store their ID cards on their mobile devices, thereby removing the necessity to carry around extra paperwork in their vehicle.

The state?s DMV altered its regulation concerning insurance identification earlier in 2015, seeking to provide motorists with the opportunity to show proof of liability coverage via smartphones.

Companies that want to offer this service may engage in certification testing in accordance with the DMV?s regulation. Geico was the first to complete it.

Geico claims to understand that its customers frequently turn to mobile to streamline daily tasks and keep track of important information. The absence of additional paperwork translates into less hassle for drivers.

?In addition to providing our customers a great rate and excellent service, we provide them the digital convenience for those mobile moments they need Geico to help out,? said Pete Meoli, mobile and user design director at Geico, Chevy Chase, MD. ?Easy access to their Digital ID Card, self-service roadside assistance and in-app messaging with service counselors are just a few features they will find valuable.?

Electronic ID cards are also a more environmentally green option.

Consumers interested in digitizing their IDs may download the Geico mobile app for Android and iOS devices, or text MOBILE to 43426 to receive a free download link.

?From a marketing perspective, it gives Geico a first-to-market position within the New York area,? said Jason Rosenberg, public relations manager at dbray Media, Parsippany, NJ. ?There is something to be said for being the first automotive insurance company in the state to be able to provide digital ID cards on mobile devices.

?As the consumer, you?re used to working in a digital/ paperless environment; the days of carrying a hardcopy or printed document/ ID card have gone the way of the horse and buggy,? he said. ?From a business perspective, by having a printed version of the ID, it is a cost center for Geico because among other things they need to mail-out the insurance to the consumer plus they have to factor in the cost of mailings for consumers who lose their paper IDs, which is fairly significant.?

Mobile in the headlights
Geico first introduced its app in 2009, with the intent of giving policyholders quick and immediate access to insurance details. Today?s app users can request roadside assistance, report and track claims, make changes in coverage and speak directly with a brand representative.

The company has been placing a larger microscope on its mobile strategy this year, signaling its readiness to be taken seriously as a leader in the digital sector.

Geico?s June rollout of Quick Messaging, a text-based, in-app messaging function that allows mobile users to speak directly with GEICO in real-time from their smartphones or tablets, pointed to mobile?s ability to deliver important information in consumers? moments of need, a mainstay of the crisis-driven insurance vertical (see story).

The brand also ramped up awareness of its mobile app last spring by offering consumers valuable tips and information to kick off National Hurricane Preparedness Week, reflecting mobile's growing role for disaster preparedness and relief information (see story).

If Geico sees a considerable amount of users flock toward the digital ID option, a slew of other insurance firms could soon be on their way to follow in its footsteps with similar features.

?Geico clearly understands today?s consumer mobile usage patterns,? Mr. Rosenberg said. ?Going digital is not an option; it?s a requirement for most companies.

?It?s no secret that consumers are demanding easy-to-use and convenient products and mobile is one step in that digital direction. You need to think about making your product experiences better for the consumer, which Geico is doing by making this switch.?

Final Take
Alex Samuely, staff writer on Mobile Marketer, New York