Disrupting the Insurance Industry Using AR



How do you make insurance interesting, captivating, and educational?

Citizen wanted to create a technology-driven sales tool that could make Whole Life insurance easier for customers to understand. Our goal was to help Citizen execute an augmented reality (AR) “coffee table” experience to bring insurance to life and engage attendees in conversation at the InsureTech Connect 2017 conference.


The Challenge – Bringing Insurance to Life

We partnered with Citizen to develop an app that would allow users to visualize how insurance helps them solve real life problems using AR. The app needed to be compelling enough to pull in conference attendees, as well as encourage additional dialogue with the insurance representatives.

Citizen wanted users who visited the booth to be able to pick up the display iPads and engage with six cards around common life events:

  • Preparing for the birth of a child
  • Buying a second home
  • Paying for college
  • Handling an emergency
  • Starting a new business
  • Financing a dream car

The app needed to recognize the card and render a 3D image that the user could interact with to learn more about their insurance options. The app also needed to respond when the user moved and rotated the card by rotating the visual rendering on the screen.

Ideation Sketch by Citizen used to visualize the tech

The Solution – Leveraging Emerging Technology

There are two main types of AR implementation: marker based and markerless. Marker based AR relies on a fixed object, while Markerless AR relies on the capabilities of the device being used such as GPS or a velocity meter. It is also sometimes referred to as plane based or position based AR.

For this project, Citizen asked us to help them create a marker based AR app which would consist of six cards with different life scenarios. Users who visited the booth could pick up the display iPads from Citizen and select the active persona on the app. Then, the user could hold the iPads over the cards that were set up around the booth. Using the iPad’s camera, the app would scan, move, and interact with the card through augmented 3D visuals.

This gamified experience would allow users to engage with their insurance in a new way, spark conversation around real life scenarios, and gain insightful information from the booth representatives.

3I3A3450sm Real-Life scenario cards used as AR markers
Cards being tested as AR markers

The Tech – Evolution in Action

For this project, we chose to use Vuforia, an AR SDK that tracks marker-based images in 3D space, as the foundation of the AR experience. We initially prototyped with Vuforia and Unity to investigate whether the detection of cards was an appropriate experience before switching to standard iOS. We used a mixture of Swift, Objective-C, OpenGL, and SceneKit for the final product.

Usability was a huge consideration for us as we advised on the technological limitations and expectations that would impact the overall design of the app. Our ultimate goal was to take the life scenario marker cards and make them come alive for users.

We worked with the UX, graphic design, and tech teams at Citizen to ensure that the cards would be bold and unique in order to register with the app software, even if placed on an object other than a table or in sub-optimal lighting. We also consulted with their team on how ensure that people would not cover the camera with their finger and reset the experience when they held the iPads. Lastly, we assisted with usability and QA testing.

We had a three week deadline to get the app up and running before the conference. Since this technology is so new, there are very few social norms around how to use it. Our team leveraged their experience with AR, app design and game based technology, while constantly learning new things and pushing themselves to keep up.


The Results – Bringing Insurance to Life

The insurance industry has a high barrier of entry – users have a notoriously difficult time understanding the ins and outs of their policies. By using AR technology, Citizen was able to break the mold of the difficult-to-understand insurance industry and grab user attention!

Conference attendees were excited to try the app. The interactive choose-your-own adventure format allowed them to learn about different insurance scenarios while having an enjoyable, valuable experience.

We enjoyed partnering with Citizen on this project and are thrilled to further open the door to having AR be a more commonplace technology that people can interact with in their everyday lives. Read more about their experience at InsureTech Connect 2017 in their case study.

AR is a fantastic way to engage users and help them visualize information in a new way. We are excited to continue pushing this emerging technology further and help our customers solve their business challenges. Read about some exciting new ways other organizations are leveraging AR on our blog!


Wondering if AR is right for your business? We can help you evaluate the potential ROI. Contact us today.



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InsureTech is only one of the many projects and initiatives we've worked on. Check out some of our other work below:


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