Nationwide Launches Cartopia, New IPhone App

by , Dec 23, 2009, 12:28 PM
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Nationwide Insurance is hoping to drive traffic, so to speak, to its auto insurance products with its second iPhone and iPod app called Cartopia. Unlike Nationwide's first such application, Nationwide Mobile, this one lets drivers start the post-accident claims process remotely by allowing them to take a photo of the accident with their Apple smartphone and send it to Nationwide.

The Cartopia app, developed with independent digital firm Rosetta, does things like list information on specific cars from multiple third-party sources and help consumers rate and store information about the vehicles they are considering. The application is a free download from the iTunes App Store.

Here's how it works. Car shoppers enter the make and model of a vehicle they are considering to see safety, pricing, payment and other information from various sources. They can also enter the vehicle identification number (VIN) to get free "AutoCheck" vehicle history scores from Experian Automotive for up to six specific used cars each month -- directed to consumers' iPhone or iPod Touch.

The app also links to Nationwide for loan quotes or car insurance. Nationwide partnered with the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Experian Automotive and IntelliChoice for the data.

Sue McManus, associate VP of Internet marketing at Nationwide, tells Marketing Daily that the app will be supported by an online ad campaign launching next week on auto shopping sites like Kelley Blue Book and Edmunds.com. The company is also running demo videos on YouTube and its own consumer Web site at Nationwide.com.

She says the app is unique because it aggregates information in one mobile program. "So if you are at the dealer's lot and looking for a car but see another one you might like, you can get information on it in real-time. We are not aware of anything like this out there that is as comprehensive or unbiased."

McManus says Nationwide Mobile, the first app from Nationwide, has garnered some 85,000 downloads, as well as over 200 new sales, "which is interesting because it's a claims app geared toward existing customers," she says. "But a lot of people heard about it, tried it and switched [policies]."

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