Insurance Carriers Emphasize Site Usability Over Bells & Whistles

Insurers focus on policy management functionality to retain clients and reduce operational
costs, G�mez Fall Insurance Carrier Scorecard research reveals

Waltham, MA, November 27 – Amid challenging economic times,
leading insurance carriers are dispensing with dazzle in favor of enhanced Web site
usability and improved policy management functionality. The aim: to keep existing clients
loyal and reduce operational costs, according to Gomez, Inc., the Internet Quality Measurement firm.

This assessment is derived from an analysis of 18 leading insurance

G�mez Fall Insurance Carrier Scorecard
. Property & Casualty insurer Progressive Insurance took
top honors for the fifth consecutive Scorecard, with Allstate finishing a close second.

“Research for this Scorecard found continued
commitment to the e-commerce channel, despite an overall slowdown in the pace of industry
innovation,” noted Greg Davies, G�mez’s lead insurance industry analyst. “This
commitment will need to continue if insurance carriers intend to meet expectations set by
the Web offerings of other financial services leaders.”

G�mez’s Scorecard analysis revealed that insurance
industry leaders are opting for minor front-end enhancements rather than adding
significant new functionality. Echoing trends common among leaders in the online banking
and brokerage sectors, firms such as Progressive Insurance, Geico, GEFN and Amica are
maximizing the value of their existing site architectures rather than aggressively
expanding the capabilities of their Web presences, Davies noted. Progressive, for
instance, made minor adjustments to its auto rate quote platform, streamlining the method
in which it questions quote seekers, he pointed out.

Among other findings, the Fall Insurance Carrier Scorecard revealed:

  • Coverage change quotes, real-time processing
    of policyholder self-service requests and immediate enrollment differentiate insurers’
    policy management interfaces. Eighteen months ago only a handful of insurers supported
    policyholder self-service capabilities. Now, 12 of the 18 firms in the Fall Scorecard
    allow their policyholders to view and/or make changes to their policies via
    password-protected interfaces.

  • Immediate access to policy self-service
    functionality is a key differentiator. Only five firms support immediate access to new
    self-service registrants. This is critical, Davies said, because insurance policyholders
    can rarely afford to wait five to 10 business days to check the status of a payment,
    initiate an endorsement request, or perform other time-sensitive service requests.

  • Insurers turn to bank products in a push to
    control a greater share of consumers’ wallets. Allstate and AIG recently joined State Farm
    as the second and third Scorecard insurers to launch online banks. This foray may provide
    opportunities for increased cross promotion of insurance products.

While carriers continue to deploy advanced policy
management functions, many of these areas lack critical features that would make them
easier for clients to use, Davies pointed out. “While 12 of 18 carriers offer
customers a password-protected online policy management area, only two are pre-filling
customer information in online claims forms,” he noted. “Additionally, many of
these 12 are requiring customers to use policy change forms that are not pre-filled and
are outside of the password-protected policy management area.”

About G�mez

G�mez provides customer experience measurement services to
help firms build successful e-businesses. G�mez Performance Network (GPN) is a leading
provider of Web page and transaction performance monitoring solutions to Fortune 1000
companies. GPN enables companies to measure the performance of their global Web sites in
real-time, enabling them to continuously monitor site availability and responsiveness,
worldwide. G�mezPro provides actionable research and competitive benchmarking and
industry insight to help companies optimize online customer experience relative to
consumer expectations, competitive offerings and alternative distribution channels.

G�mez, G�mez.com, G�mezPro, G�mez Performance Network, Performance Media and Internet Quality
Measurement are trademarks and/or service marks of G�mez, Inc. Use this
link
for additional Fall Insurance Carrier Scorecard highlights, or contact us at
aalper@gomez.com.

Online Insurance Reports from Gomez

Gomez has also published reports on:

  • Online Vehicle Insurance: Reevaluating Purchaser Behavious;

  • State of Online Insurance: P&C;

  • State of Online Insurance: Term Life.

Each of these has a pdf overview of about seven pages on the Gomez site. For more detail, one
can order a full report. These are linked from the page at

www.gomezpro.com/public/research_overview.asp?AREA_PAGE=ins
(or go to
www.gomez.com then Business Professionals,
then Research button (top), then Insurance (left) and links are from here).