Study: Insurers’ Websites Weigh Heavily on Shopping Patterns

A study from J.D. Power and Associates on the experience insurance consumers have when using websites found that shoppers “delighted” with their online experience with an insurer are likely to recommend and shop with that company again.

The recent study revealed that the different reactions insurance consumers have to a website dictates their future shopping choices, with 63 percent of Web surfers who were “delighted” with their visit reporting that they would be likely to shop with that insurer, compared with only 14 percent of “disappointed” Web surfers who reported the same.

A website visit also dictates a shopper’s recommendations on an insurer, with 50 percent of “delighted” shoppers reporting that they would “definitely” recommend that insurer to others, compared with only 2 percent of “disappointed shoppers,” according to the research firm.

The first-ever Insurance Website Evaluation Study used five factors in a 1,000-point scale:

–appearance

–ease of navigation

–clarity of information

–extensiveness of online services

–website speed

“Delighted” shoppers had 900 or more in the study’s scoring system. “Disappointed” shoppers scored less than 550.

Another study from J.D. Power and Associates released late last month showed that almost 75 percent of all consumers visit the website of at least one insurer. That study showed that a website visit is “often the first point of contact with the insurance company,” Jeremy Bowler, senior director at the research firm, said in a statement.

“Insurers have a fantastic opportunity to gain shoppers, and their referrals, by providing a website that is easy to use, has a professional and engaging appearance, and is a great resource for the shopping process,” Bowler said.

Easy-to-use Quote Process Crucial to Good Online Experience

Consumers going online to shop for the cheapest car insurance have likely received quotes in several different ways, and the study found that simpler, faster quote processes improved a shopper’s overall website experience.

Shoppers who reported a faster-than-expected quote process on a website had overall satisfaction scores of 857, compared with shoppers who reported slower-than-expected quotes. The latter group reported average scores of 612.

The speed and accuracy of automatic forms plays heavily into a shopper’s opinion of the process, the study found. Sixty-five percent of consumers reported that their quote process returned accurate pre-filled personal and vehicle information, and those shoppers had an overall satisfaction score of 790. Eight percent of shoppers said they received inaccurate information in those same automatic forms, and their overall satisfaction score was 706.

But “not all insurers excel in providing a positive quote experience,” according to the study, which found that a low 72 percent of shoppers asking for online quotes got one instantly and 18 percent had to wait for a response from insurers. A surprisingly high 1 out of every 10 shoppers in the study were unable to get a quote at all.

“An insurer that cannot provide a fast, simple quote via their website likely has a dramatically lower chance at winning that business,” Bowler said.

Four Insurers Performed ‘Particularly Well’

The study analyzed 13 insurers’ websites: 21st Century, Allstate, American Family, Amica Mutual, Esurance, Farmers, GEICO, The Hartford, Liberty Mutual, Nationwide, Progressive, State Farm and Travelers.

Allstate, Esurance, GEICO and Travelers scored “particularly well” with the study’s 1,650 participants, according to J.D. Power and Associates.

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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