Apple becoming dominant player

New apps for mobile devices create ease for brokers and their clients.

Apple has become the electronic and software provider of choice for the insurance industry, putting it ahead of Research in Motion’s BlackBerry, and companies worldwide are aligning themselves with the technology giant. Recently, specialty insurer Lloyd’s joined brokers Marsh, Cooper Gay and RK Harrison to trial the iPad, using it as an alternative to traditional underwriting slips.

In fact, the launch of the iPad this past spring has sent many businesses into frenzy, and executives are taking the tablet computer everywhere they go. As for Apple’s jewel, the iPhone continues to account for about 80% of all online smartphone activity, according to Admob.

Maybe it’s the mobile devices, or the variety of online apps (applications) that are available for download, but one thing is certain: Apple is making it easier to do business.

BMS in the Palm of Your Hand

Most recently, Keal Technology, a software provider for Canadian insurance brokers, announced their services are now compliant with Apple.

This means Keal Technology’s broker clients operating in the Application Service Provider (ASP) environment can access their Broker Management System (BMS) on their iPad, iPhone or iPod touch, simply by downloading the Citrix Receiver app from the online App Store at

“I think the benefit for brokers is being able to conduct business outside of their brokerage walls with the same features, functionality, and client information they have access to inside the brokerage,” Shannon Major, marketing and communications manager at Keal Technology told Canadian Insurance Top Broker on October 7.

Brokers will also have access to their Commercial Management System (CMS), Document Management System, Premium Finance System, Life Insurance Management System, and other hosted applications, including Microsoft Office.

Essentially, brokers can use any available wireless hotspot to connect to Keal Technology’s applications or optional 3G/4G connectivity (which uses cell phone signals when Internet is not available).

“Considering the size of the iPad screen, how easy they are to use and manipulate data, the battery life, and 3G/4G connectivity, there is no reason not to work in real time and in a paperless environment,” added Pat Durepos, president of Keal Technology.

An App for Claims

Another service is Mobile Assist, an app that can be used on an iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch. It is the Co-operators latest initiative to provide easy and efficient client service. The free app can be downloaded at the App Store, and allows clients to report and submit claims immediately, including photos of the accident.

“Part of our efforts are to service our clients in as many different ways as possible,” said Leonard Sharman, senior advisor/media relations at The Co-operators in a telephone interview. “We’ve spent a lot of time developing online transactional opportunities and were looking to expand into non-traditional service.”

Once the app is downloaded, clients input their basic home and auto insurance information, including name and policy number, into a profile. If a claim needs to be reported, the app will guide them through the process. The client then submits the claim directly to a claims adjuster, and has the option to include photos taken with their mobile device. A Co-operators claims adjuster will follow up with the client within 24 hours.

Sharman added the transmission when submitting a claim is secure, but as with any other application where you are inputting personal information, clients must exercise caution. “You will be creating a profile with your policy number and personal details, so we encourage you to take all necessary precautions (eg. using password protection on your mobile device).”

If the service is useful and well received, the company may make it available on other mobile devices, such as BlackBerry.

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