Report: Online Sales of Auto Insurance Continue Steady Growth

comScore 2007-2011 online policy buysThe latest survey released on Thursday by consumer-research firm comScore shows a growing market of online auto insurance sales in addition to an increase in customers who are likely to visit websites to buy future policies.

There were 3.1 million policies sold through websites in 2011, representing a 6 percent gain from the year before, according to comScore. There has been steady growth since 2007, with the number of policies bought annually on websites jumping 41 percent over the past five years.

For its report, comScore surveyed 4,000 Internet users nationwide in February and March.

Previous research from the firm showed that the number of policyholders seeking quotes from online auto insurance companies has held steady since 2009, the last year the number of quotes retrieved through websites saw a significant uptick. Consumers submitted about 22 percent more quotes in 2011 than they submitted in 2007.

The firm’s survey also found a year-to-year gain of 2 percentage points in the number of respondents who said they are likely to purchase policies on websites in the future, now representing 34 percent of those surveyed.

Only 22 percent of consumers surveyed said they’d be unlikely to purchase coverage online in the future, compared with 48 percent who said so in 2008.

“Consumers continue to show an increasing openness to the possibility of purchasing their future policies online,” Susan Kleinman, comScore director, said in a statement. “This bodes well for insurance providers who are able to meet the challenge of growing their online channels and customer acquisition strategies in the current market.”

The survey also measured the likelihood consumers would switch auto insurance companies, finding that they were no more likely to do so in 2011 than in 2010.

J.D. Power Says Customers Switching at Record-High Rate

A separate study from J.D. Power and Associates released in April also found a relatively steady number of policyholders switching companies. In the study, the firm found that 43 percent of consumers researching other insurers ended up switching companies, an increase of 3 percentage points from 2011 numbers.

That figure, however, represents the highest rate of switching customers since 2008, according to the firm.

That study surveyed all types of policyholders and did not narrow down its findings to those buying and shopping for policies on the Web, but did report that about 3 out of every 4 shoppers visit the website of at least one insurer.

About Charles Nguyen
Charles Nguyen is an enterprising journalist who reported for and the Desert Dispatch and was the editor in chief of the Guardian (the twice-weekly newspaper at the University of California, San Diego) before coming to Online Auto Insurance News.

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