Latest Pace-of-Change report finds that insurers focused on account information

To kick off 2022, CI’s P&C research team published a pace-of-change report evaluating how quickly car insurers updated their mobile app design over the last 12 months. (CI published a similar report on desktop sites in July.) Our mobile report found that insurers are investing heavily in improving account information access, as well as ramping up the development of new tools and resources for their applications. However, across the insurance industry, a dominant model for app design and architecture has yet to be established. There is still room for innovation.

The importance of an attractive and easy to navigate mobile app cannot be overstated. One of the most surprising results of our 2021 policyholder survey was that a full fifth (20%) of our mobile-first survey respondents indicate that, on average, they log in to their insurer’s app a few times a week. A further 18% estimated that they log in at least once a week. Not only does this call the conventional categorization of insurance as a ‘low-touch’ industry into question, but these users interact with their insurer’s platform far more frequently than policyholders who primarily rely on the desktop site. It’s all the more important for insurers to create mobile apps with streamlined experiences.

Mobile app users also tend to be younger and more technologically savvy, with very high expectations of their digital experience. Of survey respondents who indicated that they were considering switching insurance providers, 11% said they felt this way because they felt their “insurer does not have a good mobile app.” This number has increased by +4ppts since our 2019 survey, indicating the growing importance of insurers’ digital offerings on customer retention.

Our report tracked and examined how frequently and in what areas the 19 insurers in our coverage group updated their mobile app design. We catalogued each change reported in our subscription research from January 2021 to January 2022 and assigned each change a significance rating (low, medium or high) before placing them into the following category buckets:

  • Design & Navigation
  • Account Information
  • Claims
  • Alerts
  • Billing & Payments
  • Self-Service
  • Login & Security
  • Tools & Resources

The overall number of changes made can help indicate the direction and scope of digital platform transformation, and reviewing the categories where insurers are focused on making changes can yield insights into the maturity of a given app and that insurer’s progress on its digital innovation roadmap. As our graph demonstrates, the most popular categories for car insurance mobile app design updates in 2021 was Account Information, with 19 changes, closely followed by Design & Navigation, which was our most popular category in 2020 but only saw 17 updates this year. Tools & Resources and Billing & Payments saw the largest number of high-significance updates, clocking in five each.



In total, insurers implemented 89 app updates, spread across the high- (19), medium- (29) and low-significance (41) buckets. The average number of changes per insurer increased to 5.24 from 4.17 in 2020. State Farm left its competitors far behind with 22 total app updates, while Travelers came second with 13. Five carriers implemented a complete app overhaul: The Hartford, MetLife, Safeco, State Farm and Travelers, with State Farm once again going above and beyond, releasing not one but two total revamps throughout 2021.

Generally, the comparatively limited amount of updates and low number of high-significance changes indicates an industry that has yet to prioritize mobile app design as an essential component of the digital customer experience.

Trends in car insurance mobile app design

A dominant design and navigation model is yet to emerge

Most customers would agree that design and ease of use is crucial to a positive experience with an insurer’s mobile app. However, in analyzing the offerings from our five coverage group firms who released total application revamps this year, it is difficult to determine what the next generation of insurance mobile apps will look like.

New apps from State Farm and Farmers represent the two primary approaches to app information, architecture and navigation. Across its two revamps, the State Farm app eventually settled into an organizational structure that prioritizes billing information—upcoming bills are displayed upon login. Policyholders move through the app with the aid of an anchored bottom drawer navigation menu, and the insurer opted for a tiled design throughout that makes scanning and scrolling for information easier. Both Safeco and MetLife’s apps appear to follow a similar structure to State Farm’s, as they also rely on a bottom drawer navigation menu. However, MetLife’s menu lacks labels, while Safeco’s menu is more minimal and is supplemented by header links throughout the app.

By contrast Travelers prioritizes access to policy information, featuring a policy summary on its home screen. Instead of a bottom navigation menu, users navigate the app by swiping sideways intra-screen or by using a hamburger menu. Finally, The Hartford represents yet another approach to structure, unveiling an app that looks and functions like a miniature, mobile-optimized copy of the insurer’s existing desktop policyholder site.

Clearly, the differences between these revamps point to the lack of a singular dominant app layout, and to how leveraging mobile apps to improve policyholder experience and loyalty is still in its infancy across the industry. The lack of a standard model may create challenges for insurers, but it also means that the field is wide open for creative and innovative approaches to app building.

  • MetLife redesigned the entire app in January 2021
  • Travelers rolled out an update of the entire app in February 2021
  • State Farm, Safeco and The Hartford performed a full app refresh in March 2021
These three screenshots show the mobile apps from State Farm, Travelers and The Hartford
State Farm, Travelers and The Hartford Mobile App Home Screens

Car insurance mobile app design updates focused on account information

The account information category saw the most updates over the past year among our seven categories. Carriers released 19 account information related changes in total, surpassing the 16 changes made in 2020’s most popular category, design and navigation. Ten insurers from our coverage group made at least one account information update, and several made more than one.

Many of these updates improve policyholder insurance ID card capabilities, such as the viewing or requesting of IDs from within the mobile app, accessing ID cards while online, and enabling IDs to be saved into the user’s Apple Wallet. Another popular area for improvement was paperless billing and eDelivery enrollment, which several insurers allowed policyholders to enroll in or edit from within their mobile app.

In our most recent survey, when we asked policyholders what their insurer could do to improve their level of satisfaction with the website, the most common answer was “make it easier to find information about your policy.” Whilst account information was the most popular category for updates, only two account information changes fell into the high significance bucket. The lack of major developments in this area may indicate insurer uncertainty about what information to prioritize in their apps due to the lack of a dominant design model, as well as competent existing levels of account information access.

Some specific examples of account information updates:

  • American Family launched a My Feed, a proactive protection advice resource, in January 2021
  • Farmers and The Hartford enabled policyholders to view or request ID cards from the mobile app in January 2021 and July 2021, respectively
  • Travelers allowed policyholders to save an ID card to their wallet in June 2021 and added policy details to the Policies screen as well as a premium breakdown feature in February 2021
These two screenshots from mobile apps show account information updates from two car insurance firms
American Family My Feed Section and Travelers Premium Breakdown Screen

Subscribers can access the complete report on P&C desktop site pace of change on our client portal (subscription required). For access, or for more competitive intelligence on the user experience that insurers provide to their policyholders, check out Corporate Insight’s P&C Insurance Monitor research service offerings.