The wait is finally over – Google announced its intension to sell auto insurance online in the U.S. (Google has already been selling online auto insurance for more than two years in Britain.) Google’s new Web site, a search engine for insurance quotes, is the newest entry into the field of comparison shopping sites that sell products and services using side-by-side comparisons.
According to Google, the new service will start in California and then later roll-out to additional states. As the traffic builds, the company will also introduce ratings, reviews, and local agent support for insurance providers with agent networks. When a customer buys using Google’s site, Google will collect a referral fee from the insurer.
Google has acquired state licenses (needed to sell insurance) in a large number of states, and has formed partnerships with other online insurance agencies such as CoverHound. Insurance sold online allow customers to buy directly from insurers, cutting out the fees paid to agents.
Group Activities and Discussion Questions:
- Discuss the differences of marketing products versus services. Discuss key aspects necessary for success when marketing services (the 4 Is).
- Bring up Google’s insurance Web site: https://www.google.com/compare/autoinsurance/form?p=home
- Also show a similar service from CoverHound: http://coverhound.com/
- Divide students into teams. Have each team develop an environmental scan for the new service: social trends, technological forces, regulatory and laws, competitive analysis, and economic forces.
- Discuss how insurance agents can adapt to the new online sales model.
Source: New York Times, Google, other news sources