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Esurance Leads Latest Ranking of Auto Insurers' Websites

The Customer Respect Group is the latest analyst firm to rank auto carriers on their websites' user experience.

If you're an auto insurer feeling like you're operating in a fishbowl, you have good reason: third party organizations are consistently releasing rankings of websites in your line of business.

The latest study comes from the Ipswich, Mass.-based Customer Respect Group, which evaluated 20 auto insurers on these criteria: browsing, defined as how successful the consumer would be by using the site navigation; direct access, or how successful the consumer would be by using available direct access such as search; and content, or how likely the consumer would be to complete the task he or she set out to do.

[See our reporting on Corporate Insight and J.D. Power & Associates' auto insurance website rankings, and compare their methodologies.]

Esurance led the group of insurers, who were assigned a score on a 10-point scale, with an 8.6. However, the industry average score was 5.2, with the lowest being Sentry Insurance's 2.0.

Customer Respect Group president Terry Golesworthy says in a statement that "Consumer expectations are driven by websites such as Amazon, not by other insurers, and in that comparison, insurers perform poorly.”

[Read about how insurers are looking to retailers such as Amazon as role models to improve in this and other customer-facing areas.]

The major issue the study identified with insurers' websites is that they are organized around internal departments, rather than being viewed through the customers' eyes. This leads to duplicative content, if more than one department feels a certain issue falls under its purview; and also missing content, if no internal department knows to take ownership. In addition, site search was sorely lacking across those studied, and when combined with the mediocre browsing experience, leads to a frustrating interaction for consumers.

"Consumers care less about website design and more about efficient task completion," Golesworthy added. "Insurers need to move away from the prevailing focus of websites as an online representation of their internal corporate structure."

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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