Inaugural J.D. Power & Associates study measures shoppers online experiences with auto insurance websites
As websites have become the virtual welcome centers for businesses, insurance companies and agents, in particular, need to understand the importance of creating a good online impression. A new study by J.D. Powers confirms this; it found that shoppers who have a highly satisfactory website experience are more likely to shop that site again and to recommend it to friends and family either verbally or via their social media profiles. As such, design, ease of use and effectiveness of an insurance website will make or break the deal with a potential insured, whether you are a direct writer or an independent agent.
“The 2012 Insurance Shopping Study shows that nearly three-fourths of all shoppers visit at least one insurer’s website, often as the first point of contact with the insurance company,” said Jeremy Bowler, senior director of the insurance practice at J.D. Power and Associates. “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.”
As the study points, however, the reverse is also true.
An underperforming website or one that doesn’t meet shoppers’ needs can deter business not only
from the website, but the insurance company as a whole. Findings of the 2012 Insurance Shopping Study
suggest some insurers lose up to 26% of online shoppers either because they weren’t able to select the
coverage desired or purchase the policy online. While some insurers are more successful than others in
getting these shoppers to contact them through another channel, the real risk of having limited online
capabilities is losing these shoppers to insurers with more impactful websites.
What makes an effective website and a happy online auto shopper?
In determining which insurance websites were the most effective with online shoppers, J.D. Powers analyzed five different factors:
- Ease of navigating the website;
- Appearance of the website;
- Clarity of the information provided on the website;
- Range of services that can be performed on the website; and
- Speed of the website.
Among online shoppers who were more than satisfied with their online auto insurance experience, 63 percent said that they were more likely to shop with that same insurer after visiting the website, compared with only 14 percent who had indicated a disappointing experience with an insurance companies website. More importantly, however, approximately half of happy shoppers (50 percent) said that they would definitely recommend an insurer to others.
In addition, for the inaugural study, J.D. Powers asked shoppers 31 diagnostic questions pertaining to their various shopping tasks related to all aspects of the online experience of buying auto insurance. Three of the most important factors or best practices to consider in re-evaluating an insurance website or in measuring your website against a competitors are the following:
- Provide easy-to-locate contact information for an agent or a 1-800 toll-free number to call;
- Provide easy-to-locate information on available discounts;
- Provide accurate pre-filled information regarding the vehicle
Quoting Capability is Key
Another vital aspect to capturing on-line consumers is the ability to give an online auto insurance quote. The study found that only 72 percent of shoppers requesting a quote online were able to receive one immediately. An additional 18 percent were required to wait for a follow-up response and and a whopping 10 percent were unable to get an online quote at all.
“The insurance industry spent more than $5 billion2 in 2011 on advertising to attract consumers to shop for insurance,” said Bowler. “For certain carriers, increasing marketing spending becomes increasingly inefficient, as up to 30 percent of the prospects they attract abandon their site with no quote in-hand and 15 percent of online shoppers report leaving an insurer’s website to verify or follow up on a web quote rather than bind online. An insurer that cannot provide a fast, simple quote via their website likely has a dramatically lower chance at winning that business.”
Agents can view the complete 2012 Insurance Website Evaluation Study here.
Other articles from Agency Checklists that you might be interested in…..