OAI: With Facebook Discount, Car Insurance Industry's Online Presence Grows

July 11, 2012 (PRLEAP.COM) Business News
The industry's first-ever Facebook discount was announced Tuesday by Esurance, highlighting the growing presence of coverage carriers who are turning to the Web to woo customers and establish their brand, according to Online Auto Insurance.

Consumers can obtain discounts on auto insurance coverage by "liking" Esurance on Facebook, which applies a 10 percent price cut to quotes.

The "Like to Save" discount, currently available only to Texas and Arizona policyholders, is the first of its kind geared specifically toward Facebook users. The insurer stated that it debuted the discount seeking to gain a foothold in the Texan social networking market, as the state's almost 13 million Facebook users makes it the second-biggest Facebook population out of any state in the U.S.

According to the insurer, Like to Save is "a natural extension of Esurance's heritage as a company born of the Internet."

A June study from comScore showed not only that auto policy sales are growing online but also that the number of customers likely to buy through websites is increasing.

"This bodes well for insurance providers who are able to meet the challenge of growing their online channels and customer acquisition strategies in the current market," Susan Kleinman, comScore director, said in a statement.

But the industry has been hit-and-miss in fully grasping the potential and functionality of websites, according to the Customer Respect Group (CRG), which released a report in June. The firm stated that self-service is paramount to Web surfers.

The report also named Esurance as the leading website among insurers, with self-service options provided through sound content and a search tool that functions accurately. No other website had a reliable search tool, according to the report.

In fact, several Web-based tools provided by insurers fall short in getting customers what they need, including price quotes.

In a separate evaluation of insurers' websites from J.D. Power and Associates, the firm said that the quote process is a "key aspect" of customers' online shopping experience and largely dictates whether or not they return to that insurer for more business.

According to the study, only 72 percent of respondents asking for online quotes got one immediately, 18 percent had to wait for a follow-up response and 10 percent could not get a quote at all.

For more on this and related issues, head to http://www.onlineautoinsurance.com/discounts/ for access to an easy-to-use quote-comparison generator and informative resource pages.