Insurance Industry Prepares to Onboard Drones

Arthur Althans
Dec 16, 2014

Recently, we attended the Property Insurance Report National Conference (PIR) in Scottsdale, Arizona. One of the standout sessions from this year’s conference was Stephen Schultz (Chief Technology Officer of Pictometry), who pitched the use of aerial drones in the insurance industry.

Drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), have begun to leave a footprint on a national and international scale in recent years. From filming the FIFA World Cup just above the field to producing vivid images of disaster-struck areas, drones have a multitude of potential uses that have just begun to be revealed. One could argue that this is good news for the insurance industry as it could potentially streamline and improve the efficiency in the claims and underwriting processes.

Topics: Insurance, Property & Casualty Insurance

Mobile Finance Trends and Innovations (December 2014)

Dan Wiegand
Dec 10, 2014

The mobile channel continues to become an increasingly important means for consumers to interact with financial services providers. A case in point: according to the Federal Reserve, 51% of all smartphone owners have used mobile banking in the last 12 months, and interest among non-users suggests this number will only continue to rise. The Fed also found that the number of consumers making payments or depositing checks from their mobile phone is increasing as well.

Topics: Mobile Finance

November 2014 Advisor Thought Leadership: Petroleum Puzzlements

Nick Foster
Dec 8, 2014

Oil was once again a hot topic amongst investors and advisors alike as prices fell to the lowest point in years. There are, of course, many underlying factors that drive this market momentum, as well as myriad benefits, drawbacks and opportunities for various actors across the globe. This month we found five pieces that pay particular attention to the topic:

Topics: Fund Thought Leadership Insights

November 2014 Trends & Highlights: Annuities, Thanksgiving and Global Adventures

Gabriella Huddart
Dec 4, 2014


  • High Number of New Annuities Introduced – Over the course of November, our Annuity Monitor reported four new annuity products offered by Allianz Life, New York Life and Voya: Allianz Life added a fixed index annuity – Essential Income 7 – to its product offerings, while New York Life introduced a new fixed deferred annuity product – New York Life Clear Income Fixed Annuity. Voya unveiled two new deferred index annuities – Voya Wealth Builder Six Annuity and Voya Wealth Builder Eight Annuity.
  • Vanguard Makes Public Site Enhancements – This month, E-Monitor, Annuity Monitor and Mutual Fund Monitor each reported enhancements made to Vanguard’s public site homepage, Security Center and My Accounts page. The updated sections are cleaner and more user-friendly than their previous iterations, and feature enhanced navigation in the form of action-oriented links and more prominently featured login boxes. The Security Center also now features mobile- and tablet-friendly responsive design.
  • Firms Celebrate Thanksgiving – In honor of the November holiday, Lincoln Financial Group held a Give Thanks contest, and Amica promoted a customizable e-card. Lincoln Financial’s contest encourages users to upload a photograph of a person or memorable life event for which they are thankful. Users can submit photographs through December 5, 2014 for the chance to be featured in a Lincoln Financial full-page ad in USA Today. In a similar spirit, Amica allowed its public site visitors and clients to send a Thanksgiving video e-card, showcasing the artwork of renowned New England artist Amy Bartlett Wright.


Topics: Annuities, Trends and Highlights

Mobile Navigation: Industry & User Perspectives

Dan Wiegand
Dec 3, 2014

This article originally appeared in the Fall 2014 Issue of Consulting Insights.

Apps across the financial services industry continue to grow more powerful. In just the last year, we’ve witnessed the introduction of new research tools and transaction capabilities, from P2P payments to multi-leg options trading. As firms add new capabilities, effective navigation and information architecture become that much more important.

This summer, Corporate Insight turned our attention to this crucial topic, publishing a Mobile Monitor Report on Menu Design & Navigation. We took an in-depth look at 23 leading financial services firms to see how users move through their apps. Rather than simply rely on comparative expert analysis, though, we also performed a usability test to see how successful actual users were when interacting with different menu types and navigational schemes. While it would be impractical to test all 23 firms, we chose several firms that represented different implementations of the major menu and navigation strategies.

Topics: Mobile Finance

Apple Pay Revives the Mobile Wallet Concept

Dan Wiegand
Nov 25, 2014

Corporate Insight has been tracking the growth of mobile finance since the very first mobile trading sites launched over a decade ago. Since 2012, our Mobile Monitor subscription research service has closely tracked a cross-industry group of leaders and other noteworthy firms within the financial services. However, even as mobile adoption has steadily grown, the concepts of mobile payments or mobile wallets have struggled to gain traction among firms and consumers. Apple has long been thought to be a potential game-changer, though.

Topics: Mobile Finance

Wearable Tech & Finance: What to “Watch” For

Sean McDermott
Nov 24, 2014

This article originally appeared in the Fall 2014 Issue of Consulting Insights.

Wearable tech is generating a lot of buzz on the heels of Apple’s recent Watch announcement, but the truth is, the wearables movement isn’t exactly breaking news. The Pebble smartwatchhas been on the market for years, and Google’s Android Wear has been up and running since mid-2014. The financial services industry has yet to embrace the smartwatch concept, however. While firms like Wells Fargo and Discover have unveiled beta versions of Google Glassware, few major financial institutions have publicly expressed interest in developing products for the budding smartwatch market. To date, Fidelity’s “Watchapp” for Pebble represents the sole smart-watch app released by a major U.S. retail bank or brokerage firm. This may be about to change.

Topics: Consulting Insights, Wearable Tech, Mobile Finance

Apple Pay’s Secure Element: Where it Succeeds and Fails

Evan Bakker
Nov 13, 2014

An underemphasized feature of Apple’s contactless payments service, Apple Pay, is its remarkable Secure Element hardware. The much more discussed security feature, Touch ID, utilizes biometric technology that registers and responds to a single iPhone user’s fingerprint in order to authorize a transaction. Even more importantly, however, Apple Pay also communicates with a Secure Element chip installed in iPhone 6 devices that acts to safeguard a user’s financial information against fraud and data breaches.

When loading cards into Apple Pay, the Secure Element assigns each a digital token (Device Account Number) and stores only those tokens in the chip. The tokens are used as static proxy account numbers representing the user’s cards. When making payments, the Secure Element then generates a one-time unique dynamic security code for each transaction carried through the payment network. The security code acts as a proxy card code verification (CCV) and verifies that the digital token originated from the correct mobile device, authenticating the transaction.

Topics: Mobile Finance

“Invested” In Finding a Cure for Ebola

Gabriella Huddart
Nov 12, 2014

As previously discussed in the Around the Brokerage Industry: Motif Investing blog post from September 10, 2014, Motif Investing is a unique online brokerage firm that offers inexpensive bundles of individual stocks developed based on a unifying theme or “motif” for an initial investment of as little as $250. In mid-October, the firm used its distinctive business model to create a very relevant, and even more importantly, necessary new motif: “Fighting Ebola.”

Topics: Brokerage

Consulting Insights Fall 2014 Issue

Dan Wiegand
Nov 11, 2014

The Fall 2014 Issue of Consulting Insights is now available! Our cover story takes a look at the prospects for wearable tech development in the financial services industry in light of the recent Apple Watch announcement. We also explore how leading brokerages support active traders with idea generation tools, and share competitive and usability insights on mobile menu design from a recent Mobile Monitor Report. Our fourth article reviews recent industry activity in response to “robo-advisor” services from startup challengers.
Inside the Summer 2014 Issue:

Topics: Consulting Insights, Next-Generation Investing, Newsletter, Mobile Finance

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