Online Insurance Sales and Marketing: Whats Happening and Whats Next

July 17, 2007


Boston, MA, USA July 17, 2007

Online Insurance Sales and Marketing: What's Happening and What's Next

Celent projects that online insurance sales will double by 2011, and that the Web will play a major role in most personal insurance purchases across auto, life, and health.

Celent's latest report, Online Insurance Sales and Marketing: What's Happening and What's Next, is an update to its 2002 report, Online Insurance Sales and Marketing: Practices and Profiles. Key findings include:

  • The web has become an increasingly important communication channel between sellers and buyers of personal insurance.
  • Most consumers' purchasing process is "Web Influenced"
  • Search engines like Google and Yahoo! are critical channels for insurers that cannot afford massive consumer marketing campaigns to drive shoppers directly to their sites, and more insurers are embracing search engine optimization to help capture these shoppers
  • Pure online sales are growing, but will still account for less than 15% of sales, even in personal auto.

The report estimates the current breakdown of "Web Influenced," "Web Initiated," and "100% online" sales across personal auto, individual life, and individual health sales. "While 100% online sales are unlikely to exceed 30% in any area, the Web will be a major influencer for nearly all sales within five years," says Matthew Josefowicz, managing director of Celent's insurance group and coauthor of the report.

The report describes the online ecosystem within which buyers and sellers have a number of ways to reach one another: the interactions can be direct between the consumer and the carrier; through online marketing driven by search engines; and through online agencies or agents' websites. Insurers need to manage and direct those interactions or risk losing shoppers' attention to intermediaries that may direct prospects elsewhere.

To demonstrate the varied landscape of online marketing and sales, this report provides snapshots of web activities for top carriers, aggregators, and online agencies in three areas: personal automobile, life, and individual health.

Personal automobile includes: State Farm, Allstate, Progressive, Geico, Nationwide. Life includes: AIG, MetLife, Northwestern Mutual, Prudential, and New York Life.

Individual health includes: UnitedHealth, WellPoint, Kaiser Permanente, Aetna, and the Health Care Service Group.

Other significant online players profiled in the report include eHealthinsurance, Insweb, and Esurance.

The 36-page report contains nine figures and eight tables. A table of contents is available online.

Members of Celent's Life/Health Insurance and Property/Casualty Insurance research services can download the report electronically by clicking on the icon to the left. Non-members should contact for more information.  

Celent is a research and advisory firm dedicated to helping financial institutions formulate comprehensive business and technology strategies. Celent publishes reports identifying trends and best practices in financial services technology and conducts consulting engagements for financial institutions looking to use technology to enhance existing business processes or launch new business strategies. With a team of internationally based analysts, Celent is uniquely positioned to offer strategic advice and market insights on a global basis. Celent is a member of the Oliver Wyman Group, which is a wholly-owned operating unit of Marsh & McLennan Companies [NYSE: MMC].

Media Contacts

North America
Michele Pace
Tel: +1 212 345 1366

Europe (London)
Chris Williams
Tel: +44 (0)782 448 3336

Asia (Tokyo)
Yumi Nagaoka
Tel.: +81 3 3500 3023

Table of Contents

Boston, MA, USA July 17, 2007

Online Insurance Sales and Marketing: What's Happening and What's Next


Executive Summary 3
Introduction 4
Shopping and Buying Online 6
  How Carriers Reach Online Customers 6
  Online Shopping and Buying Projections 9
  Demographics 9
The Online Insurance Ecosystem 11
  Lead Aggregator Sites 12
  Insurer Sites as Lead Aggregators 12
Reaching Online Customers: Advertising and Search Engine Optimization 14
  Online Marketing: Still in Early Stages 14
  Use of Search Engine Optimization 16
Insurer Site Functionality 20
  Insurer Websites Are Using a Variety of Approaches 20
  Focus on Customer Experience 20
  Basic Capabilities 21
  Evolution of Rich Applications 22
Who's Doing What Today 25
  Personal Auto 25
  Life Insurance 27
  Individual Health 29
  Other Notable Online Companies 31
Best Practices 33
Conclusions: Looking Ahead 35


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