IBC: What prompted Sharp Insurance’s decision to utilise app technology?
SG: We developed our first app for our clients back in 2010. We were still a relatively new brokerage… It was three years after the iPhone first launched and the app stores were becoming very popular, and we thought we should probably do something for insurance…So that’s what we did! We went and built the first Sharp app and it was kind of cool. Clients were liking it … and then we realised, ‘Wow! We could be onto something here.’ So we started developing it a lot more into the current form…which is what, we believe, is the most advanced mobile app in the market right now.
IBC: What are the most significant benefits of your recently-launched iMobileBroker app?
SG: We very much believe that insurance is now moving to a point where it’s satisfying the ‘me now’ attitude with consumers. Basically, it’s giving consumers the ability to have everything they need, now… Now, the liability card is mobile on [a client’s] phone. While it’s not yet legal, we’re working with the government to make it legal for clients to be able to show their liability cards. It’s actually already legal at registries, so people can register their vehicles using the digital pink cards that we use on the phone…So that’s one big piece…but also [clients are] able to go on and see, ‘When’s my next payment?’ ‘What’s the coverage that I have on my policy?’…because all the data’s real time. So even if a client changes a vehicle today, the next day, they’ve got an updated liability card on their app and all the updated coverage, including payments and everything.
IBC: Do you think apps like the iMobileBroker app have the potential to significantly alter the way brokers do business?
SG: It has for us… it actually reduced the number of calls into our brokerage by 27%... For us, it’s allowed our brokers to spend more time selling and growing our business versus servicing our clients.
IBC: What sort of interest in/uptake of the app has Sharp Insurance experienced so far?
SG: We’ve had about 3,000 downloads of the app… The whole idea is let the clients serve themselves when they want to. They don’t really like to talk to brokers, let’s be honest. We’re not the most popular folk out there!
IBC: What more could you see this kind of technology offering to insurance industry professionals?
SG: We see a lot. In fact, we have numerous new features that we’re developing using mobile technology that have the potential to really change the game. And I think that’s what differentiates Sharp from other brokers. You have your technology companies that are out in the market to service brokers and then you have brokers that are consuming that technology. But they’re typically ‘off-the-shelf’ products. What we’ve done is we’re the broker that designed it for the brokers. We know what the consumer wants. We live it, we eat it, we breathe it every day. So we’re constantly developing the app to satisfy the needs of the consumer right from within.
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