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News Article : Online Auto Insurance Industry Comes of Age With 2005 Growth Spurt
Category: Short-Term Insurance : Motor Vehicle
Author:Edited by ITInews
Email:[email protected]
Posted:22 Feb 2006

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Slow to find its footing online, but grew faster in 2005 than any other financial services category

comScore Reports 24 Percent Growth in Auto Insurance Quotes and 29 Percent Growth in Policies Purchased Online in 2005

Consumers flocked online to research and purchase auto insurance in 2005 according to an analysis released today by comScore Networks, the leader in the use of the Internet to measure and understand consumer behavior and attitudes. 

The comScore analysis revealed that the total number of auto insurance quotes submitted online increased by 24 percent in 2005 versus the previous year, and insurance policy purchases jumped by 29 percent during the same time period.

"The auto insurance sector has been slow to find its footing online, but grew faster in 2005 than any other financial services category," said Nicolas Tabbal, vice president of comScore's Financial Services division. 

"Purchasing insurance online is more involved than other financial activities such as paying bills or applying for credit cards.  The rapid surge in online auto insurance quotes and purchases in 2005 correlates to a substantial reduction in abandonment rates across insurer and aggregator sites, and confirms consumers' increased comfort in conducting complex financial transactions online."

According to comScore's proprietary conversion matrix, the average abandonment rate at auto insurer and aggregator sites dropped from 51 percent in 2004 to 44 percent in 2005. 

Several factors contributed to this forward momentum.  Visual and functional upgrades have enhanced insurer sites, improving navigability, ease of use and site customization. 

For example, on most insurer and aggregator sites consumers can select from a menu of coverage options and receive recommendations tailored to their specific needs and circumstances. 

Technological innovations such as VoIP and online chat enable consumers to connect directly with insurers at any stage in the process, minimizing consumer frustration and abandonment.  As a result, quotes submitted at agent insurer sites increased 75 percent, and 42 percent more policies were purchased online in 2005 compared to the prior year. 

Direct insurers, who continue to be the largest insurer segment, with 61 percent market share of online quotes, saw a 23-percent increase in quotes submitted and a 29-percent jump in policies sold in 2005.  Quotes submitted at aggregator sites increased by 11 percent.

Growth in Online Auto Insurance Activities Percentage Change 2005 vs. 2004 Total U.S. Home, Work and University Internet Users

 

Quotes

Quotes

Policies

 

Initiated

Submitted

Purchased

Agent Insurers

74%

75%

42%

Direct Insurers

14%

23%

29%

Aggregators

-9%

11%

N/A*

Total

9%

24%

29%


Source:  comScore Networks

* Aggregators only refer consumers to insurers' sites to complete policy purchases.

comScore's analysis includes data from three categories of insurers: agent insurers -- companies such as Allstate, State Farm and Nationwide that traditionally sell products through a network of licensed agents and are relative newcomers to the online channel; direct insurers such as GEICO, Progressive, and Esurance who sell directly to the public, rather than operating through an agent network; and aggregator sites such as Insweb, Insurecom and Comparison Market that gather information, and then refer consumers to one or more insurers.

Andrew Lipsman of comScore Networks, Inc., +1-312-775-6510, or [email protected]

PR Newswire Association LLC, Distribution Services Department, 810 7th Avenue, New York, NY 10019

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