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GEICO redesigns app to speed up access to services

The redesigned app ? supported by Apple devices ? allows customers to look at their policies, change coverage, view digital ID cards, pay bills, replace or remove a vehicle, submit claims and request glass repairs. It reflects how insurers are stepping up efforts to meet customers? demand for instant access to services, especially during accidents.

?Insurance is leading the industry with mobile engagement,? said Sheryl Kingstone, research director for Boston-based Yankee Group. ?It's the perfect opportunity to truly leverage value-added services to improve the overall customer experience.

?GEICO is doing it right by looking across the complete customer journey and taking the friction out of customer service,? she said.

GEICO, whose parent, Omaha-based investment firm Berkshire Hathaway Inc., is owned by billionaire investor Warren Buffett, did not respond to press inquiries.

Moves in mobile
The app requires iOS 6.0 or later and is compatible with iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. The app is optimized for iPhone 5. 

Users can find buttons that will take them to the most important features on the home page. There are buttons for policy ID cards, account balances with payment-due notices, policy information, claims history, roadside assistance and accident assistance.

Inside pages let users view and edit details of their coverage. They also can get premium discounts.

The unveiling continues GEICO?s adoption of mobile in recent years as a standard part of its business.

Early this year the company was among advertisers who took advantage of a new SMS program from Reader?s Digest, enabling readers of the print magazine to respond to advertisers? offers from their mobile phones (see story). Last year, GEICO leveraged mobile to activate traditional radio listeners and drive engagement with exclusive content and the SoundHound mobile app during the NFL Playoffs (see story).

In 2011, the company rolled out a new application which featured a television ad and Facebook app, to extend brand awareness and engage tech-savyy consumers. A year earlier, it expanded its mobile insurance market by letting consumers pay their auto insurance bill via an iPad and Android application (see story).

Apps boost insurance profits
Gartner research shows that insurers with advanced digital strategies are 63 percent more profitable on average than less digitally mature industry peers.

The research firm?s recent survey of CIOs indicates that more than two-thirds of North American and European property and casualty and life insurers will increase investments in mobile apps over the next three yearsAlignment with customer interests and technical execution remain poor and lead to low adoption rates. 

GEICO?s app reflects an effort to reach across the customer journey, including moments of crisis when immediate interaction with the insurer is demanded.
App aims to personalize customers' interaction with GEICO.

?They are leveraging unique mobile attributes such as photos and digital identity, but also assisted service mobile functions such as click to call,? Ms. Kingstone said. ?The value added service beyond basic information such as account details and payments will improve customer engagement,? she said.

?One just hopes customer don't actually need to use the services, but when you do, it's quick interaction away.?

Final Take
Michael Barris is staff reporter with Mobile Marketer, New York.