Report: Smaller Car Insurance Cos. See Growing Online Traffic

Onilne auto insurance traffic graph

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The most recent report on trends in the online auto insurance market released Friday by comScore shows that smaller car insurance companies are seeing greater amounts of consumers coming to them on the Web, and that online agencies and quote-comparison sites are also seeing increased traffic.

The consumer research company looked at visitor statistics for the websites of 14 small to mid-size auto insurers–such as Unitrin Direct, American Family and USAA–and compared the fourth quarter 2009 and fourth quarter 2010 numbers for total unique visitors.

They found that the 14 sites had a combined total of nearly 12.5 million unique visitors in fourth quarter 2010. That represents an increase of almost 70 percent from the same period in 2009.

Half of the sites surveyed at least doubled their total number of unique visitors during that time.

This was the first time comScore released year-to-year visitor data from these 14 insurers. The research company has previously reported on a separate set 13 of the larger insurers, such as Allstate and 21st Century.

When looking at unique visitor numbers for all 14 smaller and 13 larger sites combined, the 14 newcomers accounted for about 17.5 percent of the total.

Director of comScore Susan Klein said that the increased traffic to smaller insurers represents a shift in the online coverage landscape.

“The online auto insurance market has been dominated by only a handful of insurers over the past few years, with GEICO and Progressive [accounting for] over 50 percent of all quotes submitted online,” Klein said. “But as more consumers look to the Internet to shop for insurance policies, there is an opportunity for more insurers to break into the online market.”

Nine aggregator sites–which allow consumers to compare prices and buy auto insurance online–that comScore recently started tracking also saw increased traffic between the fourth quarters for 2009 and 2010, though not as dramatic as the increases seen in the companies’ traffic patterns.

For these nine sites combined, unique visitors for fourth quarter 2010 were 35 percent higher than for the same period during the previous year.

Altogther, comScore reported that both the new aggregators and the mid-size insurers accounted for 724,000 submitted quotes in fourth quarter 2010.

Last year comScore released a polling report showing that the number of quotes produced and policies purchased online rose by about 20 percent between 2008 and 2009.

The report also showed that consumers have become increasingly likely in recent years to turn to the Web to purchase a policy.

About Ben Zitney
Benjamin Zitney has been covering the auto insurance industry for the past 2.5 years. Before coming to Online Auto Insurance News, he produced an extensive company history of the 30-year-old California Joint Powers Insurance Authority and worked at the Cal State Long Beach Daily Forty-Niner as a reporter, copy editor and news editor.

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