There are stirrings in the wind which suggest that on-line quotation systems may be moving beyond price and into quality. Here’s the question: Are we just suffering from incurable optimism in the face of a continuing soft market, or is this a real trend?
We recently posted on Google’s entry into on-line insurance quotations in the UK Motor (automobile) insurance market. one very interesting aspect was that Google’s offering stressed the quality of the quote relative to the expectations of the prospects. The company seems to be leaning on its “Do No Evil” motto and is getting subscribing carriers to agree to a code of conduct containing commitments to accuracy in conditions as well as pricing (as well as fair solicitation methods).
In a recent blog post, Celent’s Nicolas Michellod cites a recent report by his company – The Customer, Google, and UK Car Insurance: Lessons from Evolving Customer Search Behavior – which finds that because of the exposure to on-line quote aggregators, consumers are becoming more sophisticated. Michellod writes: “This self-education has allowed them to change their behaviour to now look for tailored insurance products that not only better fit their needs but also makes them less price-focused.” (Emphasis supplied.)
Michellod also notes that, in France, Axa has launched a new automobile insurance website that compares service levels rather than price. According to Michellod, the Axa offering “is a website comparing the level of services provided by insurers for different types of cases. For instance, if you are a young driver and would like to know who has the best service to replace your vehicle in case of accident you can get a ranking of insuers (sic) using this website.”
While the jury is still out, these seem to be hinting at a trend. Our question to you: is this happening, or even possible, in the Canadian insurance environment? Is the proliferation of available quoting engines helping to educate consumers such that quality is as important as price?
Also, can these consumer needs be handled by on-line services (and what does that mean for brokers)? Leave your comments below.