Consumers are turning to the internet to purchase auto insurance policies, with some 15% of respondents to a comScore survey saying they purchased their current policy via the online channel, a gain of three percentage point from the previous year, comScore said.
The traditional agent channel recorded a corresponding decline in market share, decreasing three percentage points to 53% of total policies purchased, according to the?2008 comScore Online Automobile Insurance Report.
Consumers Turn to Internet after Seeing an Ad
Consumers were also asked what action they would take if they wanted more information after seeing an auto insurance advertisement, with 75% of respondents indicating they would turn to the internet.
A notable percentage of consumers said they would visit the website specified in the ad (26%), use search to find a company website (22%), visit the company site (20%) or look online at another site to find contact information (8%).
Consumers Value Agents, Still Rely on Internet
The study also found that even consumers who bought a policy through an agent still rely on the internet to obtain information about auto insurance.
Nearly 80% of consumers who purchased through an agent said they value having an agent, and of those consumers nearly 40% have received a rate quote online and 30% said they would purchase a policy online in the future.
“Purchasing with a local agent has historically been the dominant method by which people purchased auto insurance,” said Kevin Levitt, comScore vice-president. “While it still remains the primary method, these latest findings show us that the landscape is beginning to change.”
“It’s clear that the internet channel is integral to the process of purchasing auto insurance – even for consumers who tend to rely more heavily on their agents.”
Additional results from the comScore study will be presented during a webinar on Thursday, May 22.
About the study: The 2008 comScore Online Automobile Insurance Report is based on behavioral data collected from comScore’s panel of 1 million US consumers during 2007 and a survey of more than 2,000 US internet users conducted during the third week of March 2008.