Personal Auto & The Online Customer

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28 December 2005
Craig Weber

Abstract

Boston, MA, USA December 28, 2005

Consumers views on online quoting, purchase, and service tools are evolving, and carriers may not be keeping pace.

Consumers have been gravitating toward using the Web to get quotes and purchase insurance, particularly for commoditized products such as personal auto insurance. But carriers might be surprised at just how important their online offering has become.

"Online services are no longer a novelty," says Craig Weber,senior analyst and author of the Celent report, : How to Focus on Things That Matter. "If you cant provide solid online quoting capability and fairly robust self-service tools, youre going to lose business to carriers that can."

Figure 1: Methods of Purchase

According to the report, 15% of consumers surveyed completed their most recent purchase of insurance online (see Figure 1). "Traditional channels are still thriving," Weber says. "But online methods now rival telephone-based sales, and every indication is that they will continue to grow."

In addition, the vast majority of consumers are getting multiple quotes before they buy, and a lot of that activity is online. "Even for agent-based sales, many consumers do some research online before they buy. That means that carriers need to really focus on their online presence," adds Weber.

Key trends discussed in the report include:

  • Preferred methods for researching and buying personal auto insurance.
  • Key drivers of carrier choice among consumers.
  • How consumer loyalty varies by carrier.
  • Payment and service preferences of auto insurance consumers, and how they relate to demographic variables such as gender, age, and income.
  • A comparison of the online quoting and purchase tools of the top 10 personal auto writers.

The report is based on a consumer survey conducted in August 2005.

A table of contents for the 42-page report is available online.

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