In a development that is sure to rankle life insurers, researchers found that the growth of the Internet can reduce term life prices by 8% to 15%. The authors say they provide the first empirical evidence that online comparison shopping affects offline prices."Our research shows that Web sites are making the term life insurance business more competitive," says Austan Goolsbee, co-author of the study and associate professor of economics at the University of Chicago.

"Because more consumers can now do price comparisons online, all companies, even those not on the Internet, can expect severe price pressure."

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