More lessons from Google Compare

Insurance Networking News syndicated an opinion piece by Karlyn Carnahan of Celent about “What Google Compare Could Have Been“. In the article, Ms. Carnahan argues that Google’s decision to lead with a front-end presentation of options was misplaced and that they should have focused their powerful data mining abilities on a recommendation engine. It’s a good argument. Not only is Google good at recommending, the current providers  in (car) insurance are terrible at it. For all we know this is a lesson Google learned. There’s been plenty of speculation already that Google will re-enter the market one day.

Speculation and a few dollars will get you a cup of coffee, however. It’s what Carnahan wrote about we already do know that piqued our interest and thoughts to write this post.

Here’s are some quotes that make the case for why Comparity is in business and why our model is so popular:

For the lead to be valuable to a carrier, the lead has to actually purchase insurance. And because a lead is sold to multiple carriers, the acquisition costs rise for a carrier.

We don’t sell our leads. Our agency partners have the opportunity to quote 100% of our leads without any up front fees. Instead, agents only pay a one-time commission when they win new business through Comparity.

So while carriers are very interested in participating in the online marketplace, they really want to work with those aggregators who are successful at converting traffic to leads that will convert to policyholders.

This is why we market primarily to realtors, mortgage bankers, and home buyers. Our leads aren’t just anyone who types “find insurance” into a search engine. Our clients are in a position where it makes sense to compare their options. In many cases homebuyers are even forced to shop when their current provider can’t cover the new home. Our conversion rates are 20-25% higher than industry average because we send completed insurance applications from people who have to buy.

The online agent model is attractive as the carrier doesn’t pay until the policy is written.

Did I mention that our model for agents and carriers is “pay only if you win”?

…getting a personalized recommendation drives conversion. When people trust that the advice is good, they’re willing to buy. We’ve seen many examples of how inserting advice and recommendations into the quoting process drives conversion.

Insurance is a complex financial product, especially when home insurance is added to the mix, as it is for many. It’s been reported in studies that most people prefer to speak with a professional agent before they make insurance decisions (source). And stop assuming Millennials do not want value the service of insurance agents. It been suggested they might even willing to pay more for that service. But how can consumers get help from a personal agent and compare options without speaking to multiple agents and filling out multiple applications? The answer is Comparity. Our “Navigators” are licensed, professional insurance agents with deep knowledge of insurance and of our carriers. Our Navigators are also unbiased in their recommendations because their compensation is the same no matter who customers choose for insurance.

The current aggregator model of selling leads multiple times is terrible for everyone involved in buying or selling insurance, except for the aggregator who adds very little value to the process or the industry as a whole. Aggregation is not inherently bad, however, and is probably necessary given the vast complexity and number of providers of home and auto insurance. So I was happy to read this opinion.

We’re not Google and we don’t pretend to know what Google is thinking when it comes to insurance. We know insurance and how to use technology to drive conversion in a way that supports everyone in the process fairly and efficiently.