New System Helps Agents Grow Business With Referrals From Their Own Web sites
MAYFIELD VILLAGE, Ohio – December 3, 2001 –
The Internet provides breaking news from around the world, unlimited reference
information, and fast, nearly painless shopping. And now, Progressive Insurance (NYSE:PGR)
is excited to announce that it is piloting a new system developed to help independent
insurance agents write more business with some of the millions of consumers who go online
to shop for auto insurance.
Progressive began the Internet referrals pilot
on October 31, 2001 with a limited number of agents in Ohio. Participating agents have the
ability to provide accurate Progressive quotes to consumers through their agency’s own Web
site. Agents then receive notification of these sales leads via e-mail and through
Progressive’s agent-dedicated Web site, ForAgentsOnly.com (FAO). The pilot will give
Progressive an opportunity to evaluate the program and make any necessary modifications
before its planned roll out to more agents across the country next year.
“As the industry’s technology leader,
we’re constantly looking for new ways to use cutting edge technology to help agents grow
their business,” said Bob Williams, Progressive’s Agent Business Leader. “As the
Internet continues to evolve and grow, technology-savvy consumers are demanding more and
more from the companies they do business with. So we’re very excited about this pilot, and
its potential to help independent agents meet evolving consumer demand.”
According to a recent survey by Progressive of
2,000 consumers countrywide, 41 percent of respondents said they would be likely to shop
for auto insurance online. However, most agent Web sites provide only information about
the agency, and perhaps an online form to generate some consumer leads. Agents can spend
hundreds, even thousands, of dollars for the design and programming of such basic online functionality.
The key to the Progressive’s system is the
company’s newly-developed server-based rating technology, which provides accurate
Progressive quotes over the Internet. For Internet referrals, pilot agents upload a
“Get a Progressive Quote” link to their Web site.
Consumers who visit one of these agent sites
and click on the link are taken to an online quoting page that is hosted by Progressive
but customized for the agent. Consumers then key in typical quote information and are
provided a Progressive quote. The pilot agent is notified of the lead via e-mail and FAO.
The interactive referrals information page on FAO also allows those agents to track and
manage their referral sales activity.
The Internet referrals pilot complements the
company’s enhanced phone referrals program, launched in the spring of 2001, which provides
agents with referrals from calls to Progressive’s direct sales centers. As of November,
the phone referrals program provided referrals resulting in over 8,000 policy sales by
independent agents across the country. Progressive is also helping drive traffic to agents
and their Web sites through progressive.com. Consumers who visit progressive.com can view
agency contact information and follow a link to an agent’s site. In October 2001, over
51,000 agent searches were completed by consumers visiting Progressive’s award-winning Web site.
Progressive, in business
since 1937, is the nation’s fourth largest personal auto insurance company and the largest
writer of auto insurance through independent agents. Progressive is committed to helping
independent agents grow by providing a financially strong company with competitive
products designed specifically for the agency business; building a strong national brand
that drives consumers to agent’s offices; and providing agents and their customers with
24-hour, in-person services and continued innovations in technology. Progressive is one of
the largest and fastest growing auto insurers in the country and is represented by more
than 30,000 independent agencies across the United States More information about the company can be
found at www.progressive.com.