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Google Compare and the Future of Insurance Distribution: Everything You Need to Know

May 12, 2015
By chrissys@seapass.com

We just returned from the Bolt Executive Summit, where Google Compare, Celent and Bolt, along with more than 60 senior Insurance industry executives gathered to discuss challenges and opportunities presented by the significant changes underway in the insurance industry.  This blog post is the first in a series that will explore key learnings from the event and implications for the insurance industry.  Subscribe to our blog to ensure you get our updates directly in your inbox.

Featuring presentations by Nicolas Weng Kan, CEO of Google Compare, Michael Fitzgerald, Senior Insurance Analyst at Celent and Tom Hammond, EVP, Insurance Operations at Bolt, the Bolt Executive Summit identified changing consumer expectations, shifting demographics and the proliferation of mobile devices as key drivers of the evolution we are seeing throughout the insurance industry.  Attendees engaged in discussions around how these forces impact the future of insurance distribution and drive innovations like Google Compare and others. In addition, the speakers offered strategies for adapting to and leveraging these innovations to drive growth by meeting the changing needs of the customer.

Some highlights from each of the presentations include:

Michael Fitzgerald, Senior Insurance Analyst at Celent:
Mike kicked off the summit by sharing industry research that demonstrated consumers shifting behavior patterns and how these trends are affecting distribution channels.  He described new consumer buying preferences wherein consumers are increasingly demanding services that are:  just in time, just enough and require little effort.  However, the biggest challenge that Mike highlighted, was that these changing patterns don’t match up with how the insurance industry does business – demonstrating that the industry is designed to serve a smaller segment of the aging population, which is shrinking in both size and value.  Despite this disconnect, Mike shared his excitement about the opportunities these changes present and his optimism around the innovation that they will drive.  He concluded by noting that leading companies will adapt to these challenges by investing in analytics, engaged distribution models and experimentation.

Nicolas Weng Kan, CEO of Google Compare:
Nic continued the discussion by describing Google’s decision to launch Google Compare for Auto Insurance and some intriguing lessons learned from Google Compare UK.  With 73% of consumers starting their search for insurance online and the poor perception of the insurance purchasing process, Google launched their comparison product to improve the customer experience. Nic made it clear that Google’s goal is NOT to become an auto insurer and that their primary goal is simply to improve the way consumers research and buy insurance.  One very compelling part of Nic’s presentation was the lessons learned from Google Compare UK – with the most surprising finding being that price is not the primary factor for consumers in choosing a policy and that the cheapest policy doesn't always win (winning only 35% of the time).

Tom Hammond, EVP, Insurance Operations at Bolt:
Tom concluded the summit by summarizing the myriad of pressures driving change within the industry and how Bolt is helping Insurers maneuver amid these pressures to provide a better way for consumers to choose and buy insurance. He also discussed Bolt as a Platform for Google Compare that can provide an easy on-ramp to leverage the benefits of this new channel with the least risk. Carriers can expect minimal or no IT involvement, no contract or integration directly with Google, and can retain full control of their flow while knowing exactly who is looking for each of their products.  Tom’s portion concluded with a list of important questions carriers should evaluate amid this challenging landscape, including:

  1. What are your gaps with distribution changes that have already occurred over the last six months? (Are you enabled to have a broad reach of channels, do you have the people to support these changes, what are end customers asking for, can you always say yes to your customers?)
  2. How are you meeting your end customer’s changing product needs?
  3. What is the 20% you can do today to get 80% of the impact immediately? And what does this mean for you?
  4. How can you accelerate your position in the next 12 to 18 months to gain momentum?

If you are unsure about the answers to any or some of these questions and/or thinking about Google Compare and how you will profit from it, Bolt can help you.  Contact us to learn how and stay tuned for more in-depth recaps of the summit over the coming weeks…

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