Many startups have attempted to help consumers cut cost and bring insurance purchasing directly to the buyer. For the most part, this has not been successful after many attempts to bring their new platforms and methods to the internet. Attempts include:
- ECoverage which is probably the earliest online insurance startup to offer insurance. This platform went out of business several years after it was luanched in 1999.
- Esurance also started in 1999 and was acquired by Allstate Insurance in 2011. As of early 2017, they have yet to turn a profit.
- Google started an online insurance shopping platform some years ago. They officially shut it down in early 2017.
There have been several issues on why buying insurance online has been a far cry from how the ride sharing services has displaced taxi services. First of all, a car service is a very easy transaction as there is not much to it and it does not require advise. Also, taxi services were not efficient or cost effective. Unlike taxi services, insurance agencies have always been cost effective platforms for insurance companies and consumer. The bottomline is, buying insurance online has not brought in huge efficencies that will significantly reduce costs as ride services have to taxi services.
In addition to this, consumers have hesitated to buy insurance online. They prefer to consult with professionals before making coverage decisions. Data has shown that many of those who attempt to do insurance online don’t take the necessary steps to complete the process. Finally, rates have not been all that favorable probably due to a higher claims rate for online buyers as well as the expensive cost of marketing online insurance. Hence, there have been additional costs to the online operation that the traditional agency system has not been effected by.
While there is no doubt that the internet has brought wonderful conveniences to our lives, it has not replaced the professional advice and guidance a professional insurance agent offers. With the online world, you are on your own, you need to pick your coverages and hope that the online information or chat will give you advise that will give you the proper protection. With Insurance agents, most of the application is completed for you, only leaving it for you to review upon completion. They are there when a claim occurs and you are not a number to an online chat discussion. You have someone you can speak with to discuss the claims and the issues that come with a claim.
The insurance agency system has stood the test of time. The system for the most part is lean and mean, is designed to keep the cost down and be accountable to consumers. Given that buying insurance online does not appear to bring significant savings, if any at all, having an insurance agent as your personal insurance advisor cost next to nothing.