comScore: 24% Growth in Auto Quotes and 29% Gain in Online Policy Purchases in 2005

February 21, 2006

Consumers flocked online to research and purchase auto insurance in 2005 according to an analysis released this week by comScore Networks, a provider in the use of the Internet to measure and understand consumer behavior and attitudes.

The comScore analysis revealed that the total number of auto insurance quotes submitted online increased by 24 percent in 2005 versus the previous year, and insurance policy purchases jumped by 29 percent during the same time period.

“The auto insurance sector has been slow to find its footing online, but grew faster in 2005 than any other financial services category,” said Nicolas Tabbal, vice president of comScore’s Financial Services division. “Purchasing insurance online is more involved than other financial activities such as paying bills or applying for credit cards. The rapid surge in online auto insurance quotes and purchases in 2005 correlates to a substantial reduction in abandonment rates across insurer and aggregator sites, and confirms consumers’ increased comfort in conducting complex financial transactions online.”

According to comScore’s proprietary conversion matrix, the average abandonment rate at auto insurer and aggregator sites dropped from 51 percent in 2004 to 44 percent in 2005. Several factors contributed to this forward momentum. Visual and functional upgrades have enhanced insurer sites, improving navigability, ease of use and site customization.

For example, on most insurer and aggregator sites consumers can select from a menu of coverage options and receive recommendations tailored to their specific needs and circumstances. Technological innovations such as VoIP and online chat enable consumers to connect directly with insurers at any stage in the process, minimizing consumer frustration and abandonment. As a result, quotes submitted at agent insurer sites increased 75 percent, and 42 percent more policies were purchased online in 2005 compared to the prior year.

Direct insurers, who continue to be the largest insurer segment, with 61 percent market share of online quotes, saw a 23-percent increase in quotes submitted and a 29-percent jump in policies sold in 2005. Quotes submitted at aggregator sites increased by 11 percent.

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