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    Insurance Mobile App Development: Deciding on Tech Stack and Features in 2023

    In the financial services domain, insurance app development shows an impressive rise in popularity. The COVID-19 pandemic has spiked the interest in health insurtech and the app insurance market is forecasted to reach nearly $20 billion by 2026. Insurtech has numerous benefits for both customers and policy-issuers, including convenience, cost optimization, and analytics, which explains why insurers adopt a mobile-first approach so that customers can sign up, browse and buy suitable policies through a mobile app, without a visit to an office. 

    With its vast experience and numerous successful projects in fintech, digital media, and e-commerce, Surf company knows what it takes to develop an easy-to-use and secure insurance mobile app. In the article, we’ll review why insurance companies should consider developing apps for their customers, the initial steps of the development process, and the specifics of the sphere of insurance for mobile app developers.

    The main reasons for insurance company to go mobile

    So, why are the services in the area of insurance app development  high in demand? On average, people spend 4.8 hours on their phones daily. From messaging and shopping, to work and gaming — we do it all through smartphones. When it comes to attracting customers and reinforcing relations with them, companies with a strong mobile presence have an edge over competitors.

    Better customer engagement. A mobile application available 24/7 on a customer’s smartphone makes it easier for them to review purchased services and conveniently buy new ones to protect their property and liability. It also works toward attracting new customers, since they can easily register and buy policies via smartphone, without a need to visit an office or wait on the phone.

    Routine automation. Moving the processes of underwriting, prolongation, and claiming into mobile apps reduces business’s operating expenditures because it means automation of routine actions and less manual work. This allows cost optimization and better rates for customers.

    More insights. The great thing about making a mobile app to serve as the main point of interactions between a company and customers is a possibility to measure and track various aspects within such interactions (without infringing privacy rights, of course). Such insights and feedback can be extremely valuable for improving marketing, products, and the company’s earnings.

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    Creating an insurance mobile app: first steps

    “By failing to prepare you’re preparing to fail” — words of Benjamin Franklin fit mobile development like no other. Without thorough preparation and assessment, the creation process is unlikely to bring fruitful results. Let’s take a look at the initial steps of creating an insurance mobile application that in many respects shape the final result.

    Market analysis. First of all, it is vital to clearly define the concept, business model, and target audience of the future application. All of this is done via market analysis performed by a project manager together with analysts and experts from various departments of the company — each provides insights related to their field of work. As a result, you get a complete picture of the future product that meets the goals of every company’s stakeholder. Later, it will help to avoid any extra costs and slowdowns in the process of development.

    UI/UX design. This step, helmed by designers, determines the look and feel of the application. They work on developing a color scheme, fonts and navigation so that it better reflects the brand’s identity and provides a convenient experience for users. UI/UX design process includes creating wireframes, or pictures, of every screen, as well as clickable prototypes to define usage scenarios.

    MVP rollout. For a company, making a minimum viable product is the best way to assess a project’s viability. By selecting one or more core features and releasing the app, a company can evaluate the reaction and feedback of the target market. Therefore, an MVP makes it easier to decide whether to invest in a full-feature version according to an initial plan, make some adjustments or even rework the concept completely.

    Creating a detailed roadmap. Once a clear vision of the future app is obtained and the team with business stakeholders agree on it, it is time to create the project’s roadmap that determines the goals and success metrics of every stage of the development. Today, it is most practical to create road maps in cloud tools, so that every team member can access a real-time version of it from anywhere in the world. 

    These pre-project steps provide enormous help in focusing on key aspects of development, as well as distributing tasks and responsibilities among developers. For companies and startups, Surf provides a customizable solution that covers these steps, including risk review, MVP composition, design concept, and a roadmap. In two weeks and with only about 5% of the development budget spent, a company gets a clear product vision and accurate estimation that is useful for both working with an in-house team or insurance app development company.

    Now, let’s take a look at some of the most complex steps of development: deciding on features and a tech stack for the app.

    Top features for your app

    In the context of determining the list of features for an insurance app, a lot depends on the exact type of the project. To start with, such apps can be categorized by the type of policies they allow to issue, for example, life, health, car, or liability protection. Also, they can differ by the functions performed, such as, an application to issue a policy, for underwriting, claim management, or CRM and doc management system for agents. For general purposes, let’s see what functionality is necessary for most application types.

    Profile

    An app must have a profile screen that contains user details and the object being insured, such as car parameters and ID details. Since insurance mobile applications contain sensitive and financial data, it can be wise to protect the profile details with a password, Face, or Touch ID. Also, by integrating a solution that can detect document details from a photo, an onboarding process can be made quicker. For example, when Surf developed an app for Pakistani neobank, our developers integrated IDWise — a solution that allows new bank clients to go through a verification process remotely, sending photos of themselves and their documents. 

    Quotes

    Clients should be able to browse available policies via the app in a way quite similar to an online shop. This means creating product cards with detailed descriptions of every policy type and providing filters to help customers find a policy that suits them in terms of price, coverage, and duration. A smart questionnaire with multiple answers can be a good solution to help pick the most suitable product.

    Policy

    The screen should contain the details of the purchased policy. It is also recommended to implement filtering options, especially if you expect corporate clients with big sets of documents to use the app. A good example of such a doc management feature can be the one implemented by Surf in a corporate banking app, which was also the first Flutter banking app in Europe. In the app’s Doc tab, users can filter documents by many parameters and issue new ones from templates in a few clicks.

    Making a claim

    One of the important parts of an insurance application is a screen where a user can file claims for coverage. A situation might occur in stressful conditions, so the feature needs to be as intuitive as possible. Ideally, when filing a claim, the majority of data should be input automatically from the details previously provided by a client so that they only have to insert the info about an accident and initiate a claiming process. When it comes to property or car insurance app development, a camera integration to take photos within the app is a must-have feature. 

    Smart & easy payment 

    Providing easy payment options, you save clients time required to visit a bank or transfer invoice details to another application. The best way here is to use trusted and secure payment APIs, such as Stripe or Braintree. To improve user experience and make things easier, aim to support multiple payment options, in addition to credit cards, such as Apple Pay and Google Pay, PayPal, AliPay, and others, depending on the target market and audience.

    Push notifications

    Push notifications lead to higher user engagement rate. Develop separate categories of notifications, such as those regarding upcoming payments, promotional offers, and updates on an active claiming process. Don’t forget to provide users with the ability to customize each category of them, since receiving too many push notifications irritates just as much as their total absence.

    Customer support chat

    Round-the-clock support is a necessary feature for a service where an accident might take place any time of day. Integrating an operator chat into a mobile application provides users with a convenient alternative to phone calls, which is important to policyholders that contact the company from abroad. To optimize the support process, build a chatbot that can interact with customers and answer their frequently asked questions, while still having an option to switch to a live operator in case of emergency.

    IoT for telematics

    Internet of Things (IoT) sensors present in smart homes, wearables, and cars are gradually taking insurance to the next level. They provide a wealth of data related to a customer’s property, car, or health. For example, by integrating car telematics that analyze a customer’s driving, a company can provide dynamic policy rates for car owners, lowering costs for those who stay on the safer side while behind the wheel.

    Tech stack for insurance mobile app development

    The choice of technologies for developing an insurance app will have an impact on the project in many ways. From development costs to its scalability, many of these aspects are determined by a project’s tech stack. In general, you can choose between native and cross-platform development of client apps. The former means creating separate code bases for Android, iOS, and other platforms, while the latter is based on using single code across multiple platforms and only one team of developers.

    Surf has many years of experience creating native mobile apps with Kotlin and Swift and our team of developers has also adopted Flutter cross-platform framework soon after its release. We can confidently recommend Flutter, since its latest version allows you to create applications for all major mobile and desktop platforms and web from a single codebase and end up less expensive than native development.

    For example, when Surf worked on mobile apps for pharmacy online stores, our choice of Flutter allowed the client to save about 40% of the initial development budget. High security and performance belong to other characteristics of the framework that you can learn more about in our Flutter overview.

    Surf has created Flutter apps for fintech, e-commerce, media, and other industries
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    Development costs

    The cost of developing an insurance mobile app depends on a multitude of factors. The most significant of them are features, tech stack, and developers’ salary. The price of an app’s basic versions for iOS and Android lies in the range of $90,000 — 130,000 and requires about 6 months of developers’ work. Here we provide the approximate costs of features development.

    Of course, these figures depend on the complexity of features, and developers’ wages add up to the spendings on analysts, UX/UI designers, and testers. Surf can complete the math for you and provide an accurate estimation depending on the concept’s level of detail.

    To sum up

    Insurtech development requires thorough preparation and awareness of the current industry trends. A company should start with a business plan that outlines the app’s concept and features. A cross-platform can have more potential in terms of future scaling and the company’s expansion to new markets. Then, it is recommended to create an MVP to gather feedback before full-scale development. 

    We at Surf have been developing mobile apps for 12 years, catering to the needs of both small and large companies in many industries, including banking and finance management. In case you are planning to develop a mobile insurance app, our developers and project managers will be glad to discuss your project in detail, provide its estimation and help to decide on the next steps of bringing your project to life.