Latest Insurance Carrier Scorecard Reveals Continued Internet Channel Emphasis On Automotive Sector, E-Servicing

Progressive Insurance takes seventh consecutive industry ranking due in part to its site’s ability to facilitate the bulk of consumers’ insurance purchase and servicing

Waltham, MA, February 5, 2002 — Insurance carriers are making their Web offerings more conducive to conducting auto-related business while extending self-service capabilities to retain more online-savvy policyholders, according to the latest industry Scorecard released by G�mez, Inc., the leading provider of Internet Channel Effectiveness solutions.

The Q2 2003 Insurance Carrier Scorecard also finds Progressive Insurance finishing atop the Overall rankings for the seventh consecutive ranking. For customers focused on accomplishing the bulk of their auto insurance purchase and servicing needs via the online channel, Progressive remains the top choice, G�mez research found.

Though lagging other financial services sectors, recent and planned online technology enhancements by carriers indicate a significant focus on the auto sector in general and e-servicing in particular. The reason: that’s where the market opportunities lie. For example, G�mez consumer market research shows that three to four times as many general Web users go online to research auto insurance compared with life insurance or homeowners.

Moreover, G�mez research indicates that online auto insurance users are far more likely to attempt online self-service tasks than online life insurance users. For instance, auto policyholders are more than twice as likely than life policyholders to have accessed personal records and history, updated personal and policy information or made a premium payment online.

Recent site enhancements detected by G�mez research that reflect these trends include:

  • KemperDIRECT’s online document imaging of its declarations pages and policy contracts in the 18 states where it offers online access.
  • Liberty Mutual’s rollout of a password-protected site for online billing and payment functionality (the carrier previously denied clients secure access to policy information).
  • Progressive’s enabling of online purchasing of RV insurance and PDF images of coverage cards.
  • State Farm’s elevation of online application and binding capabilities from one to seven states.

Changes to G�mez’s Scorecard methodology, which created greater depth in servicing functionality tracked and put greater weight on e-servicing criteria, led to a major reshuffling of the overall Q1 Scorecard rankings. “Nationwide, Geico, Esurance and GMAC, all rose in our rankings Scorecard due in large part to superior online servicing capabilities,” noted Tim Carpenter, a G�mez analyst who led this Scorecard research project.
Conversely, previous top performers such as Safeco and Amica, which operate limited online servicing capabilities, largely sat on the sideline during this review period. As a result, these firms’ rankings declined from the Q2 2002 Insurance Scorecard, Carpenter pointed out.

More traditional Scorecard firms see e-servicing as critical to their Internet future. “The insurance industry is beginning to harness online technology to further customer relationships that other financial services industry segments have already embraced,” Carpenter noted. “As such, State Farm, Nationwide and Allstate are beginning to put together servicing platforms that compete with direct sellers such as Progressive.”

To qualify for the Insurance Carrier Scorecard, firms must offer instant online quotes for personal auto insurance to a significant portion of the U.S. population and collect at least $1 billion in direct premiums for the product supported online via instant quotes. Carriers meeting the minimum criteria are then rated against one another on the quality of their Internet delivery of insurance and related services to arrive at the 16 firms that comprise the published Scorecard. The Overall rankings place a priority on the educational, purchasing and servicing capabilities that each carrier provides for the auto insurance product, while also factoring in the delivery of similar services for other insurance and financial products.

About G�mez

G�mez serves companies that strategically depend on the effectiveness of their Internet channel to increase revenues and decrease expenses and provides the industry’s only comprehensive set of integrated solutions that help firms maximize the performance, functionality, and usability of their Internet channel.

G�mez Scorecards measure the quality of e-commerce offerings, with a predominant focus on the Internet channel and a secondary focus on auxiliary channels and measures. Scorecards rank all firms in an industry that meet minimum standards of service (typically in terms of depth and breadth of product and national availability), and provide a snapshot of how industry players compare and contrast across user profiles and usage categories. G�mez, G�mez.com, G�mezPro, G�mez Scorecards, G�mez Performance Network and Internet Quality Measurement are trademarks and/or service marks of G�mez, Inc. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.