Online Insurance Sales & Marketing: Practices & Profiles
Celent estimates that online insurance shoppers currently account for 19% of personal lines premiums, and predicts that this number will grow to 37%, or over US$200 billion, by 2005.
Despite the disappointingly slow pace of adoption for online insurance purchasing, consumers are turning to the Web for research and shopping for policies in record numbers, even if they eventually make the purchase offline. In a new report, , Celent urges insurance sellers to consider the Web as a critical component of their marketing strategies and benchmark the performance of their online initiatives relative to other marketing channels, rather than sales channels.
"The Web represents a unique opportunity for insurance carriers to gain mind-share with consumers who are early-stage potential buyers, as well as mid-stage buyers who are actively comparing different offerings," says Celent analyst Matthew Josefowicz, author of the report. "Carriers who do not make themselves visible and attractive to consumers, either by providing rich information, including quotes, on their own sites or through aggregators and online agencies, will lose market share to those who do."
Celent recommends that insurance sellers consider the primary points of visibility, branding, rich information (including quotes), and live service when crafting their online offerings.
"Consumers need to be able to find you, either directly or through an aggregator," Josefowicz says. "They need to be able to be comfortable with your company's brand, either because it's well known to them through other channels or because they're presented with reassuring information like corporate background and financial ratings. They need to be able to get comprehensive, but not overwhelming, product information, and finally, they need to be able to get help through phone, email, or live chat if they have questions." The report examines the evolution and needs of the online insurance shopper, as well as channels that carriers are using to attract them, and the various business models of the companies that have arisen to bridge the gap between consumers and the carriers. Eighteen companies are profiled in the report, including: Accuterm, AMS Services, Answer Financial, CustomQuote, ComparisonMarket, ebix, eHealthinsurance, Esurance, InsLogic, Insurance.com, InsWeb, NetQuote, Pivot, QuickQuote, Quotesmith, Reliaquote, YouDecide, and YouZoom.
A Table of Contents is available online.
of Celent Communication's Life/Health Insurance research service can download the report electronically by clicking on the icon to the left.