Poll Shows Over Half of Insurance Shoppers Getting Quotes Online

Approximately 54 percent of American consumers who shopped for financial protection for their automobiles in the past year said they generated car insurance quotes online in the process, a new study from J.D. Power and Associates indicates.

The marketing-research company said that this is the first time in the study’s five-year history that “a majority of new buyers of auto insurance initiated their policy purchase by applying for a rate quote online.”

The data compiled in the  new study reflects the responses “from more than 15,500 shoppers who requested an auto insurance price quote from at least one competitive insurer in the past 12 months.” The survey was conducted between March and April of this year.

Although the results showed that the majority of shoppers who got quoted on coverage did so online, the most new buyers used this only as a stepping stone and ended up purchasing policies through agents.

About 52 percent of new buyers surveyed ended up going through agents to purchase their policies, while 28 percent did so through the Web and only 20 percent did so via call centers.

But the results do show the Web growing as a popular channel for closing the deal. Since 2007 — the first year in which the study was conducted — the Web’s share has gained 6 percentage points, while agents’ and call centers’ shares have declined by about 5 points and 2 points, respectively.

“While nearly one-half of all accepted Web quotes are closed by either an agent or call center representative, customers are clearly more often looking to insurers’ sites or third-party sites in the early stages of the shopping process,” said Jeremy Bowler, a senior director at J.D. Power and Associates, in a press release, “and this behavior is blurring the lines of how we traditionally think about the discrete sales channels.”

In addition to the data on shopping channels, the study showed that the rates of respondents who looked for new coverage and switched companies is up from last year.

About one-third of insurance customers shopped for coverage in 2011. About 30 percent did so in 2010.

And of those who shopped for a policy, “40 percent switched to a new insurer — up from 33 percent in 2010,” according to the company.

About John Pirro
John Pirro is a licensed fire and casualty insurance agent specializing in various aspects of the auto insurance industry. He worked in the auto body repair industry before taking a reporting position at Online Auto Insurance News.

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