Time for insurance apps to join the worldwide app phenomenon

Mobile phones became ubiquitous because of their ability to keep us connected wherever we happened to be. Mobile apps, however, have made our devices an intrinsic, essential part of our everyday lives, tools that, for most of us, would be difficult to live without.

It’s no surprise that in 2021, therefore, the number of mobile apps downloaded worldwide rose to 230 billion, according to Statista. This year it will undoubtedly be an even bigger number as more and more apps, delivering more and more functions are listed on the big global app stores.

Last week we became part of this growing app developer community. We launched our KoverNow tool via the Singapore Apple App Store, and it allows users to purchase insurance cover for precious items such as jewellery, watches, luxury handbags, camera and even their laptops. The mobile platform gives them an instant view of their policy, and they can switch the cover on and off and add or subtract items whenever they feel it is necessary.  Before long we will also launch an app version for Android phones.

It seemed obvious to us that insurance should be available via a mobile app. After all, consumers do almost everything else using apps, from video conferencing and watching movies to ordering their groceries and banking. Indeed the pandemic accelerated the use of apps, enabling those confined indoors to keep important connections with the outside world, and the convenience of this is not something that any of us wants to give up.

There are also technological reasons why mobile apps are developing so rapidly. 5G is one of these, allowing fast services with very low latency to be delivered via smartphones, enabling data to be transferred smoothly between other connected devices and mobiles and supporting the integration of VR and AR into apps improving user experiences.  But other trends include the growth in wearable devices; much greater focus on authentication, making the use of apps more secure; the inexorable rise in mobile commerce; and the benefits that predictive analytics bring to personalised, digital usage.

It is younger smartphone users that are driving the development of apps. They would not recognise the world of twenty years ago, accustomed as they are to living their lives through their mobiles, and it is important for long-established industries, such as insurance, to pay attention. A recent report by the Chartered Insurance Institute’s New Generation London Market group found that if the insurance profession fails to innovate it will not meet the needs of the public. Significantly, this group is a gathering of promising talent from the insurance industry, whose views are sought in order to challenge existing processes.

Having just launched our own app, which provides insurance coverage via QBE Singapore, we are keen to encourage innovation in others. It might sound counterintuitive to say that we hope the KoverNow app prompts the launch of rival mobile insurance apps, but it’s the only way that we can create a modern, competitive digitally-enabled insurance market.