NAILBA Perspectives Winter 2020 - Page 36

TECHNOLOGY

Creative Considerations : Mobile app for agents

“ Software is indeed a great combination between artistry and engineering .”
Bill Gates
Krish V . Krishnan is Founder & CEO of Magnifact , a Chicago-based insurtech company that created the AgentVizion suite — a real-time production measurement platform for the insurance industry . Krish has over 35 years of IT experience and is an alum of the Harvard Business School . Email : kvkrishnan @ magnifact . com
In today ’ s technology-enabled world there are over 3.5 billion smartphone users , including nearly 80 % of the US population . There are millions of apps out there , with Google leading the pack at 2.7 million , followed by Apple at 1.8 million , not counting Microsoft and Amazon .
The last couple of years have seen a steady rise in mobile apps offered by carriers and agencies who are trying to equip their agents with the best-in-line tools out there . There are quoting apps , apps that fetch over-65 demographics from within a certain location , ones for lead generation , and apps that get you the latest production and commission scores rather than having agents log in to each carrier portal or monitor credits to their bank accounts .
Beyond looking cool
App designers have an additional burden beyond just making sure the app is easy to use or looks cool . Creating an app for agents requires audience understanding and architectural discipline that will adapt to changing requirements , new products , upline acquisitions , new regulations and added functionality .
Best practices for the insurance agent app journey : Create an unforgettable user experience : Keep the app intuitive , screens easy to read and navigate without making the user go through nested menus . You may have the best functionality out there , but everything hinges on how you present it . A UI / UX expert will add tremendous value during this stage of development . Consider a cross-platform development environment for faster deployment : While native builds on iOS and Android are always natural options , a platform like Xamarin , Flutter or React Native ensures that nearly 75 % of common code is grouped into a shared project that your application projects can reference . This makes development , maintenance , and testing easier . Keep the architecture squeaky “ clean ”: Clean architecture is an essential consideration to ensure that core business logic isn ’ t impacted by surrounding interfaces , databases or frameworks . Implementing a loosely-coupled architectural paradigm like Model / View / View-Model ( MVVM ) pattern ensures that your user interface doesn ’ t change with a new commission split logic or a business rule for calculating incentive points . Security is paramount : In these days of breaches and phishing , it is imperative that the client ’ s data is absolutely protected . Even with a secure HTTPS implementation , your app isn ’ t impervious to Man In The Middle ( MITM ) or spoofing attacks . Consider using certificate authentication techniques like SSL pinning that will compare the certificate originating at the source with the one embedded in the app . If you must store data locally , always use strong encryption . Two-factor authentication must be an essential step in identity verification . Continue building excitement and sophistication : Leverage and integrate smartphone “ hygiene ” factors like alerts , location sensing , Siri / Google Assistant integration , and face recognition into your app as baseline functionality . Technology is advancing rapidly with the rise of artificial intelligence , augmented reality , speech-recognition , chatbots and machine learning .
36 Perspectives Q4 2020