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Progressive enables insurance payments via mobile site, app

The Progressive Group of Insurance Companies has launched an iPhone application and a mobile Web site that let consumers pay for their insurance via their handsets.

By providing both a mobile Web site and an iPhone application, Progressive hopes to make insurance easier and more convenient for a broad range of mobile consumers. Both the application and the site are branded with the company’s perky commercial spokeswoman, Flo.

“Looking across the competitive spectrum, we’re the only one with an app that combines the various services such as policies, the ability to pay bills, insurance information, get quotes and find an agent,” said Matthew Lehman, Web experience director at Progressive, Mayfield Village, OH.

“When we looked across the spectrum, we saw individual apps with these services, but nobody had put them together to make comprehensive app to provide utility to customers,” he said.

Progressive has been in business since 1937 and is one of the country’s largest automotive insurance groups.

Simplifying with mobile
Many features of the iPhone application and mobile site are useful to consumers who are not covered by the auto insurance company, but who are shopping for a car.

On both the application and mobile Web site, consumers can see crash test results and recall notices, compare the relative costs of insuring different cars and find nearby agents’ offices on an interactive map.

Consumers can also request a quote, make insurance payments and see a copy of their insurance identification card.

On the mobile Web site, consumers can also sign up to receive mobile alerts for payment information such as due dates and electronic payment deductions.

Consumers can report claims from the iPhone application, sending the information directly to a Progressive claims representative and watch television commercials, plus a video clip that is not in rotation outside of the application.

Within the application consumers can make a payment using their billing information stored in their account.

The application also features a concierge service center locator and the ability to get a direct quote by phone for your car, home, motorcycle, RV or boat.

Consumer demand
Mr. Lehman said Progressive did research before launching its latest mobile properties and found that its customer base is likely to own a smartphone and were more inclined to perform transactions with them.

The auto insurer launched the mobile properties softly, with ads on the mobile site for the iPhone application and promotion via its social media channels.

Mr. Lehman said he expects full promotion to begin in two weeks to three weeks, with ads being featured on Progressive’s wired Web site, other sites and via paid search placement, as well as suppot from other mobile marketing tactics.

The mobile properties may show up in a TV spot, but there are no such plans as of yet.

Progressive is looking at other smartphone platforms individually to see if an application makes sense or whether the mobile Web site provides a compelling enough experience for consumers.

Mr. Lehman said Progressive extended its service to the mobile platform because of consumer demand.

“We know that’s where our customers and prospects are now and will be going to,” Mr. Lehman said.

“This is consistent with our history of being first-to-market, whether it is the first with a Web site quoting app, a WAP site, first with the ability to let consumers pay bills via mobile or get bill payment mobile alerts, we’ve been there early to help lead consumers to this type of functionality and we will continue to do that more on the mobile platform,” he said. “It’s in our DNA.”