March 13, 2013

Irvine, Calif.-based document capture and management vendor Kofax announced today the release of Kofax Mobile Capture for Driver Licenses, which it claims "enables organizations to capture images and data contained in U.S. driver licenses and provides a proof of identity to reduce fraud in customer centric mobile apps."

A request for comment from Kofax wasn't returned in time for publication. In a statement, the company says that the technology is ideal for insurance companies who "will no longer be burdened with the task of manual data entry... the data can be used to interactively respond back to the user to confirm receipt of an application, the status of a quote, or the initialization of a claim, thereby improving the customer experience and satisfaction while minimizing the risk of fraud."

This isn't a completely new idea to the insurance industry: Progressive worked with Mitek Systems, the vendor behind mobile check deposit apps in use at Chase and other banks, to develop a similar capability last year. And, demonstrating what's at stake for this kind of technology across financial services, Mitek was in litigation with USAA last year over who was the chief developer of mobile check deposit.

Kofax's announcement further signals a sea change in how seriously the insurance industry is taking mobile capture, according to Harvey Spencer, a consultant who studies the document capture industry.

"Utilizing data gleaned from mobile device cameras is rapidly becoming an accepted factor," Spencer says. "All of the document capture vendors are doing something with mobile capture capability and authorization."

There's still some work to be done by both the vendors of the software and the handset manufacturers, Spencer adds: While small documents like drivers licenses and checks are easily captured by the pixel count of the camera, he still recommends that mobile scanners be used for bigger and longer documents -- like an insurance application on 8 ½" by 11" paper. But the technology is getting to that point. Next, he says, the questions will be about who is collecting the mobile data: "There's a lot of discussion going on as to how much is self-service vs. how much is agent-led – and from there, what device will an agent use to capture a document or, potentially, a payment."

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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, ...