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Nathan Golia
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Image Gallery: 5 Steps to Customer-Friendly Online Insurance Quotes

The user experience experts at Corporate Insight offer five ways to generate a customer-friendly online insurance quote and evaluate six carriers' websites based on the consultancy's top best practices.
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For many consumers, their first experience with an insurance company comes on the carrier's website, as they search for an insurance quote. This past July, J.D. Power and Associates reported that a majority of auto insurance quotes now originate online. Accordingly, customer experience has become the watchword for P&C carriers that are looking to differentiate themselves without simply racing to the bottom on price. After all, you only get one chance to make a first impression.

5 ONLINE QUOTING
BEST PRACTICES

  • 1. Offer discounts during the quoting process.
  • 2. Promote more than one pricing and coverage option.
  • 3. Import vehicle information based on home address.
  • 4. Allow users to save and continue their quote later.
  • 5. Follow up with a call from a local agent.

Corporate Insight, a New York-based user experience research firm, released a report in January evaluating how eight P&C carriers gather car and driver information online and progress to a final auto quote. The team posed as a potential customer, living in Brooklyn, N.Y., looking for coverage on a 1995 Subaru Impreza. According to Corporate Insight, among the aspects of each website evaluated were the inputs and layout, features, and what happened after the final quote. For example: Is the design facilitative of the process? Can users save their progress? How soon does the insurer follow up after the quote?

"We were trying to gauge usability, overall capability and how easy the entire process was," Corporate Insight president Mike Ellison tells I&T. "We're hoping people will learn best practices to make the client experience as easy as it can be."

The company also evaluates website experiences for banking and investment firms. Compared with those financial services providers, Ellison notes, creating distinction via customer-acquisition-based online functionality is more important for insurers. "We look at things both from the potential customer as well as the existing customer perspectives, but the reality is, when it comes to insurance versus, say, brokerage, there's more a brokerage customer can do as a customer online — trading and things like that," he explains. "Behind the password for insurance tends to be viewing the policy and making the claim."

On the following slides, Ellison and colleague Lauren Wistrom, senior analyst for Corporate Insight's Property & Casualty Monitor, take Insurance & Technology through six auto carriers' websites, pointing out how well the insurers apply the consultancy's five major recommendations.

Providence-based Amica's and Boston-based Liberty Mutual's sites also were evaluated in the Corporate Insight report.

Nathan Golia is senior editor of Insurance & Technology. He joined the publication in 2010 as associate editor and covers all aspects of the nexus between insurance and information technology, including mobility, distribution, core systems, customer interaction, and risk ... View Full Bio

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