Aggregators in the United States and Europe are leading the charge to sell auto and other insurance over the Internet, but only a few of these sites will survive, according to a Meridien Research report that focuses on the aggregators in the online insurance space.
Meridien’s “Auto Insurance Aggregators: The On-Ramp to the Internet,” provides a look at aggregators and covers the global landscape of online auto insurance. According to the report, there are four major elements that comprise the online insurance system used by aggregators: the web server, application server, customer account database server and core processing system. The report also examines the end-user experience, rate quote generation and closing transactions online.
Since aggregators earn one-time commissions on new sales, the winners in this emerging market will need a full range of insurance products and the ability to both compare products and close sales online instead of just providing price quotes, according to the report.
“The insurance industry has traditionally been a very conservative industry,” said Dave Potterton, Meridien’s research director for e-Financial Services.
“Banks and brokerage firms have raced to the Internet to aid their clients but, in general, insurers have lagged behind. Today, however they are realizing that this channel cannot be ignored and are investing in the technology needed. As this happens and customers become more confident in making purchases over the web, we are likely to see online sales comprising a greater portion of insurance revenues.”
Behind the curve
The insurance industry has a tendency to adopt new technologies at a slower pace than other financial sectors, according to the report, which looks at the online auto insurance space and its move onto the Internet. Indeed, less than 20 percent of auto insurers currently have the ability to sell policies online, according to the report.
The growth potential in this sector is far greater than in other areas of insurance, the report continues, because of the nature of the product and a growing consumer demand for products that are easier to buy and service. And aggregators are playing a major role in increasing acceptance and online presence for insurance carriers.
The study focuses primarily on online aggregators and their ability to generate multiple quotes, create a more efficient market, and enable insurance carriers to establish their online presence. The 20-page report, available for a $1,500 fee, provides a general overview of the online insurance industry, with specific attention given to auto insurance online. The report focuses on the aggregators in this space and the quote-generating technology used. Also featured are three implementations of quote-generating technologies used on aggregation sites.
Auto most popular
According to the report, about 1 percent of personal insurance policies in the U.S. are bought over the Internet today, with auto policies being the most popular. Because auto insurance is a standardized product and a less emotional buy than homeowners, health or life insurance, consumers are less likely to depend on an agent. Consumers have an incentive to shop online because premiums can vary greatly among insurers.
The report can be purchased by calling (617) 796-2863. The table of contents and abstract are available at www.meridien-research.com.