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The wait is over. Google has entered into insurance shopping and would start California. The United States insurance industry had been anticipating Google’s entry into insurance shopping for the better part of a year.
The search giant has announced it was introducing a United States version of its Google Compare auto insurance shopping site, which has been operating in Britain for two years.
The site, which is basically a search engine for insurance quotes, is the latest entry into an increasingly crowded field of comparison-shopping sites that try to sell auto and other kinds of insurance with side-by-side comparisons similar to how Kayak sells hotels and flights.
The company sources said, the site will start in California and focus on car insurance. Customers enter information like their name and driver’s license number, and the site provides quotes in a few minutes. If and when a customer buys, Google will collect a referral fee from insurers.
The company said, as Google Compare for car insurance rolls out to more states, Google will also introduce ratings and reviews as well as local agent support for providers with agent networks.
Google’s move into the lucrative but heavily regulated world of insurance sales had been anything but quiet. The company has been acquiring state licenses to sell insurance and forming partnerships with the insurance sites like CoverHound, an online insurance agency in San Francisco, and CompareNow.com, a United States comparison portal that is owned by Admiral Group, a British insurer that has operated insurance European price-comparison sites for more than a decade.
Other Internet companies, such as Overstock.com, have also started branching into selling auto and other forms of insurance.
Sources further revealed that Google has signed up major insurers like MetLife and Mercury Insurance, but many major carriers, which spend billions of dollars a year on advertising directly to consumers, remain wary of Google. This helps to explain the company’s partnership with CompareNow, which gives Google access to insurers in the company’s network.
One group that is particularly worried about Google’s move into insurance is about fourteen thousand insurance brokers who have been the backbone of the insurance trade. Comparison sites like Google’s allow customers to buy directly from insurers, giving them a discount by cutting out agents and their commissions.
While online insurance shopping has not eliminated insurance brokers the way online airline shopping decimated travel agents, Google and others have hundreds of billions of reasons for trying. In 2013, insurers wrote $481 billion in premiums for property and casualty insurance, which consists of mostly auto, home and commercial insurance, according to the Insurance Information Institute, an industry group.
There are specialized websites for various insurance needs such as Compare.com which deals with Auto insurance in the US Market. Its an growing organization and their product have streamlined the insurance comparison process from various Insurance companies and shows you the best quote.