Combined Agency Results for Status of Web Sites

by Duke Williams on January 18, 2010 · 1 comment

Duke Williams has created several of the most used web sites in the Property and Casualty insurance space. He has been teaching all over the country for the past two years trying to help agents understand how to use the Internet to grow their agencies. His blog about agency web sites is http://agencybootcamp.blogspot.com . I read this study on Duke’s Agency Boot Camp blog last week and invited him to let me use it for this week’s lead off. Thank you Duke for letting me share with these readers.

Aiken, SC; Durham, NC; Duluth, GA; Mobile, AL; and Pembroke Pines, FL had 392 unique physical locations with addresses inside the city limits where you could buy car insurance.

In addition, all locations had at least 19 online only agency choices where you could purchase a real time policy.

More Breakdown Detail

248 independent agencies

49 Nationwide agencies

19 Online only agencies

51 State Farm agencies

26 Allstate agencies

7 Farmers agencies

7 Alpha agencies

2 Farm Bureau agencies

1 GEICO local agency

1 Direct General agency – a regional non standard auto insurance carrier with owned agency locations

Agency Web Presence

All direct writer agencies had web sites for each agency location.

Obviously all 19 online only agencies had a web site.

64 independent agencies had a website. 25.8%

184 independent agencies had no web presence.

All direct writer agencies were in Google “local results” in addition to being in the general organic search results.

74 independent agencies were in Google “local results”.

174 independent agencies were not in Google “local results”.

These functional results are for the independent agencies only.

All national direct writers had very high functionality.

No agency had all these functions, but the national direct writers had all but one or two.

Real Time Functions

Quotes – 6 – 2.4% of all, 9.4% of agencies with web sites

Buy a policy – 3 – 1.2% of all, 4.7% of agencies with web sites

Request changes – 0

Report claims – 5 – 2% of all, 7.8% of agencies with web sites

Make Payments – 13 but 6 were just links to carriers, 1 used PayPal – 5.2% of all, 20.3% of agencies with web sites

Review account information – 6 but 2 were just links to carriers – 2.4% of all, 9.4% of agencies with web sites

Get Directions – 11 – 4.4% of all, 17.2% of agencies with web sites

E-mail link – 21 – 8.5% of all, 32.8% of agencies with web sites

Get needed forms – ie, proof of insurance, certificates of insurance – 3 – 1.2% of all, 4.7% of agencies with web sites

Follow on social network – Facebook, Twitter, etc – 0

Peer ratings and reviews – 1 – 0.4% of all, 1.6% of agencies with web sites

Non Real Time Online Functions

Quote forms to request a quote – 33 – 13.3% of all, 51.6% of agencies with web sites

Request a change – 8 but 1 was page showing carriers phone numbers – 3.2% of all, 12.5% of agencies with web sites

Report a claim – 13 but 9 were just links to carriers or carrier phone numbers – 5.2% of all, 20.3% of agencies with web sites

Questions I Can’t Answer – This Relates to Car Insurance

Recently I have read that 85% of all car insurance buyers in 2009 had their first interaction with the eventual source of their insurance purchase online.

But I have seen other reports that show the percentage of policies actually bought online are still in the low single digits.

If my memory is correct, when the travel agents got put out of business by travel websites, it happened in about 12 to 18 months.
What is it about the sale of insurance that is tracking car buying more than travel agents?

Today, most car purchases are researched online but the vast majority of cars are bought in person. Of course a car is physical.

An insurance policy is as digital as an airline ticket, but current consumer behavior is somewhere between travel agents and car dealers.

Why?

Regardless, I think most car dealers have a website.

The 74.2% of independent agents who have no web site simply do not exist to the 85% of buyers who make first contact online.

Even among the independent agents with a web site, the functionality was never even half as complete as the national direct writer’s sites.

NOTES on Development of These Numbers

This information was put together by Duke Williams. dwilliams@myatlatl.com , 800-768-0907. Please use it as you see fit.

I used the “find an agent” feature on many insurance carrier websites. I used Google search with the term “car insurance city name state name” but without quotes. I used the SuperPages, YellowPages and about a half dozen other lists online.

When using Google search I would go to about the 8th page of results.

I will have missed a few agencies – but since they did not show up in the first 8 pages on Google I assume all insurance buyers will miss them also.

I will have some agencies on the list that are no longer in business. I tried to only take agents from secondary lists which were confirmed on other lists.

I personally went to all websites and saw the features I have recorded in these results. All this was done between 12/30/2009 and 1/10/2010.

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  • A long held, and I think still legitimate axiom of sales consulting is this:

    Product or Service Complexity + Price are proportionate to: Consumer Propensity to Seek Consultative Advice

    Agents that can expand and support unique sales propositions that go beyond 'we can save you money' probably won't go the way of the travel agent. The agency website is one place where agency USPs should be obvious; websites that are easy to use, interactive, and information rich can help the 85% of consumers who start on the web make a choice to give a local agency a shot at their new business.

    Without the right website and sales propositions, a lot of new business will go somewhere else.

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