- Where Insurance & Technology Meet

Are You Asking Your Customers to Wait 2½ days for an Auto Quote?

There’s an old saying about how surgeons sometimes have a narrow view of success: “The operation was a success; too bad the patient died.” A recent report on insurers’ responses to digital consumers could update this: “The marketing campaign exceeded expectations; too bad we didn’t write any business.”

It looks like marketers and communications people have responded to the need for digital request for quotes, but there’s a gap somewhere.  We’d like your thoughts on our use of digital to its fullest advantage.

Insurance companies and agents/brokers like to get quote requests, don’t they?

Marketers, with the help of  IT,  have worked hard to provide insurers and brokers with on-line facilities for requesting quotes.  Some quote engines take the consumer  all the way to completion.  Others allow users to enter information and the quote will be provided.  The working assumption is that someone will follow up to try to get a sale, or at least an expiry date.

A recent study by Velocify, a provider of cloud-based sales software, suggests that follow-up is not guaranteed.  And when it happens, it is not meeting best practice standards for the digital world.

What happens when you push submit …

Velocify conducted  a secret shopper survey of the top 25 US P&C insurers – including direct writer, captive agent, and independent agency companies – to find out.   Multiple requests were submitted for personal and commercial lines.  All requests provided information that would indicate, according to Velocify, above average risk profiles and a strong intent to purchase.  Active phone numbers and email addresses were provided.  All requests were sent during business hours.

Velocify then measured:

  • Phone call responses (elapsed time to first call and number of call attempts)
  • Email responses (elapsed time to first email and number of subsequent emails)

What’s the rush?

According to Velocify research, “attempting to contact a lead within one minute of web inquiry submission increases the likelihood of converting that lead into a paying customer by 391%.”   In the secret shopper survey, the average time to respond was 2 days and eight hours.  Only 19% received a call within an hour and  39% did not receive a call at all.

Velocify commented: “When inquiring buyers are made to wait hours or even days to receive a call, not only does it give ample time for a competitor to be the first to call, it sends the wrong message to potential customers about a company’s ability to provide prompt customer service.”

Email response was a bit better.  Velocify’s best practice is to send email within 20 minutes of submission of a request.  For the insurers surveyed, the average response time was 22 hours.  And 67% received some feedback… eventually.

From our perspective, the worst statistic is this:  one in six requests did not receive any response at all.  No call, no email. No kidding.

And we have a reputation for persistence?

There’s an old adage: “No one has endurance like the man that sells insurance.”  Looks like that can be tucked away, at least as far as response to web-based queries.

According to Velocify, best practices are for 6 phone attempts (during which 93% of the leads that ultimately convert are reached).  In the survey, only 7% of inquiries received 5 or more calls.

Email came in about the same, with 89% of attempts being less than the optimal 4-6 attempts.

Does the channel matter? 

Velocify took all the data and examined each of the channels.  None came in as a clear winner, however, the direct writers had the top 3 positions for overall scores.  But the directs also had some of the lowest scores.  Captive agent carriers were the most consistent.  And Independents generally ranked the lowest.

Velocify’s comment is telling:  “None of the companies in this study achieved a score of 60 or higher <on a scale of 100>, showing that all companies, even the best, have much room for improvement.”

What do you think?

Does the Canadian environment match the findings from the US?  Do you have standards in place for response time?  Have you got automated procedures for tracking leads?

Let us know.  We think follow up on active leads is low hanging fruit.




Very interesting article. Although its a shame that the digital marketing effort in the insurance industry is far from being efficient and effective, it is kind of comforting to know that even the best companies out there still rank so low (60 out of 100). It seems like as independent brokers we are not the only ones who are constantly fall behind to get back to our clients despite of working too many hours a day.


I believe the Canadian results would be somewhat better than those in the USA. In my personal experience e-mails are received within minutes. “Call to action” is available on most of the credible aggregators/directs shopping sites, prompting you to call the providers when you see an offer you like. Additional call outs, mailings and/or e-mail follow ups are made at interval as well as on policy anniversary dates.
The directs/banks seem to be the most aggressive and provide the best online offerings thus far.
Broker based insurers in Canada have not countered the online competition very well and need to up their game in order to gain market share in personal lines sales.

Tom Lum

I believe that service issues and response time frames are an issue in whatever business you operate. As a group insurance broker, our business response times will vary with the flow of mail/email drop activity driving call/email volumes. However, we try to stay within a 48 hour window of being contacted. Car Insurance | Auto Insurance

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