The always reliable and informative Insurance Networking News discusses a report from IDC about the impact of in-app purchasing. The market for apps continues its impressive growth, but the focus of this report is on the opportunities for sales and services that are initiated and completed from inside of running apps.
I'm not 100% sure of the focus for insurers here. This quote from IDC’s Scott Ellison doesn't help any: “The user sustainability trifecta of social networking, location, and the cloud are now increasingly being supported by the business model financial trifecta of application store purchases, in-app purchasing, and in-app advertising.”
My guess is that the interesting opportunities for insurers lie in collaborative efforts with other providers of products and services. There must be enormous potential for an insurer to insert itself in, say, the process of buying an expensive, complex item. An app that helps you choose a vacation could feature a prompt for buying travel insurance, with the premium being shared by the insurer and the app host.
This doesn't sound a whole lot different than traditional sales partnerships. Travel companies and insurers already team up in this way. The difference that in-app service could bring is a greater degree of flexibility on the part of the partners. You could even call it the promise of promiscuity. The travel app host could switch its in-app insurance provider with a simple change to the call-out code.
This business switchability is a free by-product of the fact that for in-app services to have any hope of gaining traction, they have to be standards-based. The standard discussed in Pat Speer's INN article is Apple's Store Kit framework, so the assumption at work here is that Apple owns the market for apps. With Android growing strongly, developers will want to look at alternative technical standards as well.
The good news is that at the level of business logic - the code that performs the actual insurance process - standards are already in place. ACORD standards can be used as easily in-app as anywhere else. This is just one more area where the insurance community's investment in our standards contnues its rich payback.