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Insurance firms eye m-commerce tools

06 September 2010 - 11:52 by Mike Price

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Companies which sell insurance have already benefited from e-commerce in recent years, with a price comparison boom allowing consumers to save while insurers get even more competitive. But now experts are warning that firms need to adapt to the growth of m-commerce in order to engage the younger consumers in the UK.

Tech analyst firm Ovum has recently published a report, which shows that the insurance industry could struggle in the future, if it does not quickly enlist the tools of m-commerce. They will need to make sure that those consumers who are picking up their first batch of insurance, will be able to do so in a manner with which they are familiar, namely by carrying out safe shopping online from their mobile phones.

Ovum claims that insurance firms need to jump on the m-commerce band wagon this year to remain competitive. Analyst Barry Rabkin said that increased connection speeds within the mobile market were allowing for m-commerce to grow, as consumers can pick up products from their smartphones, without off-putting delays in the process.

Mr Rabkin pointed out that most insurance firms remain unconvinced of the importance of m-commerce, citing the fact that 3G network coverage is not always sufficient for potential clients to actually buy insurance from their mobiles.

Mr Rabkin states that this attitude will sideline many firms, because the next generation of consumers, who have been living with m-commerce throughout their lives, will be more in tune with the technology and choose insurers who offer this convenient option over those who do not.

Ovum suggests that insurers could use the m-commerce tools to provide after-sales advice and support to customers, giving them even more incentive to commit.

The security of the m-commerce systems operated by each insurer will be of paramount importance, according to Ovum, as it says consumers need to be confident that they can carry out safe shopping online when scanning insurance deals.