Google auto insurance comparison shopping may be sooner rather than later
In the U.K., Google's auto insurance comparison shopper has already been up and running for two years and now the search Goliath has its sights set on the U.S. market - industry watchers say expect this development sooner rather than later. Julia Ybarra of Agency Checklists has been keeping an eye on recent reports and breaks it all down in her article Google Laying The Groundwork For Its On-Line Automobile Insurance Comparison Business.
She features a screen shot of the UK site, which features 127 providers. Here's one of the clues that action here in the states may be imminent:
"While rumors of Google’s auto insurance plans for the U.S. marketplace have been swirling around for years, Ms. Carney’s research noted recent developments which may hint at the imminent entry of the internet search giant’s entry into the auto insurance market. In particular, her discovery of one Google’s employee’s recent move to become authorized to sell insurance on behalf of Coverhound, Inc. For Ms. Carney, this move only makes sense for the company if it is planning to acquire the San-Francisco based on-line auto insurance site.'"
She also took a look at Google's activities in Massachusetts. While the company is not currently operating in-state, she notes that Google Data Inc. changed its name in Massachusetts to Google Compare Auto Insurance Services, Inc. on August 8, 2014. She lists company officers and other known info about the company.
In Google set to turn key on insurance comparison site in Illinois, Chicago Tribune reporter Robert Channick says that "the service is licensed to do business in more than half the states, with Illinois, California, Pennsylvania and Texas set to lead the way." He notes:
Google will get commissions on policies it sells. More importantly, it also will be able to gather more data on consumers and pricing insurance risk, Carney said, making some carriers wary about Google's involvement in their business.
Google knows a lot about consumers' risk profiles from their search history, Carney said. "They could use that data to underwrite," she said. "This is kind of a test for Google."
Andrwew G. Simpson also reports in Insurance Journal, Google Poised to Enter U.S. Auto Insurance Market: Report, noting that "currently offers online quotes for multiple insurers including Hartford, esurance, 2st Century, Travelers, Safeco, National General, Progressive, Foremost, Plymouth Rock and others."
As for the potential disruption this could effect:
"Google could present formidable competition for other insurance sellers. As many as two-thirds (67 percent) of insurance customers said they would consider purchasing insurance products from organizations other than insurers, including 23 percent who would consider buying from online service providers such as Google and Amazon, according to research by Accenture."