As businesses discover the dynamic use cases for interactive kiosk technology, retail stores remain integral portals for delivering that technology to the consumer when certain purchases are top of mind.
Direct Auto Insurance, a Nashville-based insurance holding company with more than 400 local offices in 13 states, recently introduced a transactional insurance kiosk, targeted for use within retail stores, that it hopes will usher in a new era of convenient insurance selection and payment.
Known as Direct on the Spot, the kiosks, which were manufactured by North Carolina-based Meridian, have been deployed at 18 Direct Auto Insurance locations as part of a beta test for a larger rollout of kiosks in supermarkets, malls, gas stations, car dealerships and other third-party retail locations.
The kiosks provide the user with an insurance quote in as little as 60 seconds, the company said, and within five minutes customers can walk away fully insured and up to date on payments.
Through the DOTS kiosks' touchscreen interface, customers can purchase a Direct auto insurance policy, roadside assistance plan, life insurance policy, or an emergency protection plan, and receive proof of insurance. Customers can also contact an agent to discuss questions or concerns through the kiosk's handset.
In addition to securing new customers, the kiosks give an added bill-payment feature to existing customers who will be able to submit monthly payments through the machines. In addition to accepting credit and debit cards, the kiosks also accept cash payments, extending the payment function to the unbanked.
Marc DiGiacomo, VP of Product Management at Direct Auto Insurance, said that by rolling the kiosks out to supermarkets and other retail locations, his company will be able to offer customers more flexibility in how, where and when they purchase insurance.
"Our DOTS kiosks offer customers an insurance store in a box," DiGiacomo said. "With a scan of their driver's license, customers receive a free auto insurance quote. In just a few more minutes, they're insured."
Retailers who house the DOTS kiosks are also on the benefits list, the company said. For a limited time after the roll out, the kiosks will offer users a free gift card to use within the store hosting DOTS, as a way to encourage and incentivize customers to use the kiosks before they complete their shopping.
Jack Campbell, COO at Direct Auto Insurance, said the company's relationship with retailers is fundamental to the success of the kiosk program, as well as to the development of deeper community involvement.
"In the insurance industry, the national players often forsake a local presence, and the smaller local firms lack the resources to provide a top-notch customer experience," Campbell said. "Direct, on the other hand, is committed to our local communities while developing technology to expand our omnichannel distribution network. By partnering with a number of local retailers to host our DOTS kiosks, we're growing that service and expanding our local presence."
As with any secure transaction taking place in public environments like retail stores, the DOTS kiosks are manufactured with privacy in mind, the company said. Personal user information is not stored in the kiosk, and personal information does not appear on the screen during data entry. Privacy wings also flank both sides of the touchscreen, for an additional measure of security.
Early next year, the company plans to move at least 16 DOTS kiosks into partnering retail locations. And according to Josh Jarrett, VP of product development for Direct Auto Insurance, the impact the kiosks will have on the insurance industry is nothing short of revolutionary.
"Our DOTS kiosks represent a monumental leap forward for Direct and the insurance industry," Jarrett said. "We want to change the way our customers think of their insurance company, and by deploying our kiosks on a large scale, we aim to meet and exceed their expectations for a convenient way to find and pay for insurance."