Insurance technology (Insurtech) concept, woman looking data information on smartphone.

Over the past two months, USAA and Allstate released augmented reality (AR) features on their mobile apps, representing insurers’ initial foray into the space. The AR market is expected to explode and reach nearly $210 billion by 2022, adding layers of digital information over users’ real world settings. The enhanced experience of AR differs from virtual reality (VR), which creates entire artificial environments that transport the user to a different world. AR is perhaps best known for triggering the Pokémon Go craze, but the technology also has several retail implications. In fact, many consumers (61%) prefer stores that offer AR experiences, and close to half of them (40%) expressed a willingness to pay more for a product if they have the opportunity to experience it through AR.

 

In September, USAA launched a pilot app that leverages Blippar’s car recognition and AR technology to streamline members’ access to the firm’s USAA Car Buying Service. USAA members can point their mobile devices at any vehicle—manufactured in 2000 or later— they come across and see related information such as purchase price, cost of insurance and vehicle details. Additionally, the display highlights if any similar vehicles are for sale nearby. Members can follow links to receive an insurance quote or loan financing information. Currently, the firm is piloting the app through usaalabs.com, where members can sign up to participate in the pilot and provide feedback that USAA plans to incorporate in the app’s next iteration.

USAA Augmented Reality Car Buying App
USAA Augmented Reality Car Buying App

Similarly, Allstate added an Escape Route feature to its mobile app in October that allows clients to map exit plans on their phones in case of a fire or emergency. Coinciding with Fire Prevention Week, Escape Route accesses the phone’s camera and allows clients to trace a route and mark exit points. After saving a route, users can scan the area with their phone cameras, and the feature superimposes exit directions and indicators. Escape Route allows clients to create and save multiple routes for different locations. The dedicated Escape Route screen displays saved routes and includes fire safety tips.

Allstate Mobile App – New Escape Route Screens
Allstate Mobile App – New Escape Route Screens

Allstate Mobile App – New Escape Route Screens

 

While intriguing, neither AR feature provides a significant value-add for clients. As the technology continues to improve, however, Corporate Insight’s P&C Insurance Monitor expects to see increasingly impactful additions to firms’ mobile offerings.