Google Launches A New Tool To Sell U.S. Web Searchers Car Insurance

In an article published today by TechCrunch it stated that Google announced this morning it’s launching “Google Compare for Auto Insurance,” a comparison-shopping site which lets you compare the rates from different insurance providers.   Google’s auto comparison U.K. site has been live since 2012, but the U.S. launch has continually been pushed back. However, as of this January, Google Compare Auto Insurance Services, Inc. was licensed to do business in more than half of U.S. states. It is rolling out initially in California, but Google says other states will soon follow later this year.

“Google Compare for Auto Insurance” will appear on-screen after a consumer does a Google search for “car insurance” using Google’s search engine.  Consumers who enter in this search query will see a small, gray questionnaire appear, asking for their zip code, and other information about their vehicle. Should they fill that out, Google will return a comparison unit listing insurance premiums, provided by its insurance advertiser partners. Alternately, users can also go to Google.com.com/compare to kick off the same experience and get quotes.

Google’s insurance partners include Mercury Insurance and MetLife.  The website also lists the logos of several providers including The General Insurance, 21st Century Insurance, Infinity, Kemper Specialty, Titan Insurance, Stillwater, CSE Insurance Group, and others.

Google says that its comparison technology was built in-house, but did confirm it’s working with “many partners” including CoverHound and CompareNow as part of the quote aggregation process.

DriveFactor published an article on February 19th which proved to be correct.  It stated that, “comparison sites are on the move in the US auto insurance market. CompareNow plans to double its ad spending in 2015. CoverHound is growing. Both have relationships with Google at some level and many speculate Google will make a move into the US insurance market in 2015.”

Andrew Rose, CEO of Compare.com, provided public advice to agents and brokers in a recent interview with Insurance Business America which can be summarized as: 1) make sure you are part of the consideration set; and 2) add value beyond the transaction.  This seems like sound advice for carriers as well.

As stated in the February 19th article, “To respond to the rise of aggregators and other disrupters, insurers must deepen relationships with their existing customers and move closer to their key customers in ways that add value and can’t be easily disrupted by pricing. 

One pathway is making more aggressive moves with telematics and UBI to acquire, reward and retain high value customers.  The value of telematics for retention is largely untapped.

And there is a window of opportunity while the channel is still small to develop new strengths, new retention models, and carve out profitable niches that are defended on value beyond price.”

 

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