According to Ruth Fisk, worldwide managing director of the insurance solutions group for Westlake, Ohio-based Hyland, which provides an iPad app that insurers can customize for their producers, agents want an application that allows them to cycle back and forth from sales material to quoting capabilities to information-gathering with ease, so they don't get bogged down in the program while working with a customer. "It's about minimizing the number of keystrokes and having access to the specific capability that's required at their fingertips without having to go through multiple search criteria," she says. "Whether it's a proposal or previous coverage, you need to be able to have the information that pertains to the discussion at hand."
[The Best Insurance iPad Apps: Take a look at iPad apps from GEICO, Progressive, Humana, USAA, State Farm, Zurich, John Hancock and Aflac.]
Insurers that already have built web portals for their agents and producers can partially solve the problem of iPad access by optimizing those portals for the device's built-in Safari browser, notes Andrew Ross, SVP of marketing for John Hancock Retirement Plan Services in Boston. But a big benefit of an app is that if the professional is unable to connect to the Internet, he or she still can use sales materials downloaded along with the app.
"We need them to have the latest version of materials that are compliance-approved, so document management and content management are important. An off-the-shelf PDF reader doesn't provide me with the content management I need," Ross says. "The problem you have is that if you're relying on Internet connectivity, the interaction doesn't work. That's what initially led us to use an app as opposed to online properties."
Other carriers also are finding innovative ways to leverage the iPad to improve their distribution. What follows are examples of the industry's top iPad apps for agents and producers.
Nathan Golia is senior editor of Insurance & Technology. He joined the publication in 2010 as associate editor and covers all aspects of the nexus between insurance and information technology, including mobility, distribution, core systems, customer interaction, and risk ... View Full Bio