Building a Native Mobile App

When you’re looking to expand your client base of insured classic cars, where do you go? To classic car shows. NSM agents needed an app that could effectively log lead gen client data while “on the road” at classic car events throughout the country.

For a quicker quote turnaround, a user-centered native mobile app.

The Project

  • The application needed to be user-friendly, easily upgradable, and have the ability to work without Wi-Fi (offline)
  • It needed to be co-branded without re-keying into two quote systems
  • App data also had to integrate with the established internal data management system

BRIO’s user-centered design and data management expertise informed our strategic build of a native iPad app. Now NSM insurance quotes go from car shows to clients’ inboxes in a snap.

For more than twenty-five years, NSM has been underwriting niche industries that often require niche solutions. For the classic car market, car shows are a vital avenue for establishing relationships with new clientele, but the legacy NSM data collection process was paper-based. Because data would have to be imported and then actioned against post-show, there was a costly delay between the first interaction and the quote landing in the lead’s inbox.

NSM needed an application that allowed for on-site data input with the ability for agents to toggle between the insurer’s two brands. The app also needed to accommodate the limited or non-existent Wi-Fi at many car show venues and be deployed at enterprise-level (not installed via the App Store but instead deployed internally).

And to add just a little more complexity: the data sync processes also needed to be collaborative. The NSM database was already established, so the app needed to integrate and use data in a reciprocal way so the internal NSM team could manage it.

A collaborative approach helped make app integration feasible.

How would BRIO make it feasible to store information locally (on the iPad) until agents could access reliable internet to upload the data to NSM? The answer was within the integration with the existing lead management system from NSM.

BRIO collaborated with the in-house team at NSM to develop the appropriate API calls to send data directly to their existing lead management system. With this updated process, those leads can now follow the standard sales process, and the internal team can manage and maintain the data. This allows NSM to bypass the former manual process, saving agents’ time while also securing more completed deals.

Multiple needs were streamlined into one solution.

BRIO developed a native iOS iPad app which moves potential leads through a series of self-service questions to collect data to inform the follow-up insurance quote. Alternatively, agents can walk the client through the questions (there is an agent mode and a client mode), allowing agents to create a stronger relationship with potential clients during this “first-touch” interaction.

To develop the app to run on iOS, BRIO used Xamarin—a free, cross-platform, and open-source system for building mobile apps. The local NSM database was on SQLite, which BRIO built into Xamarin. The NSM development team set-up APIs on Azure to collect the data and insert it into the SQL database. BRIO posted to the API via HTTPS. The data is encrypted with TLS 1.2.

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