Reston, Va. - The year 2006 represented the tipping point for using the Internet to buy auto insurance, says comScore, Inc., a Reston, Va., company that measures commerce in the digital world.

The Internet has been critical in supporting insurance research during the past few years, with price-conscious consumers submitting more than 70 million auto insurance online rate quotes from 2004 to 2006, comScore says.

However, shoppers have been slower to buy policies online until recently. The comScore analysis showed that last year auto insurance policies purchased online increased 58% over the year before, while the total number of auto insurance quotes submitted online increased 15%.

"Consumers continue to migrate toward conducting complex financial transactions online," says Kevin Levitt, vice president of comScore Financial Solutions.

"The automobile insurers are supporting this shift with more efficient Web sites and clearer communication of the value proposition for purchasing policies online,” Levitt continues. “The substantial growth rate in online policy purchases reflects an important transformation in the dynamics of the online auto insurance market."

The strong growth of 2006 continued early this year, comScore says. During January and February, the number of auto insurance quotes submitted online increased 29%, and the number of policies purchased online increased 45% compared with the corresponding period in 2006.

A comScore survey of Internet users with auto insurance shows other signs of continued growth for online purchases of auto insurance, the research company says, with 65% of those surveyed claiming they would consider buying their next auto insurance policy online.

Of those who indicated they would not purchase policies online, 69% say they would prefer to speak to or meet with an insurance agent, while 53% say they did not want to submit personal information on a Web site.

Information security was clearly a consideration for many of those hesitant to purchase policies online, as more than half (58%) of say guaranteed site security would increase the likelihood they would buy online.

Research from comScore is available in “The 2007 comScore Online Automobile Insurance Report,” which the company says is based on more than 2 million online consumers. Additional information was gathered in March with a survey of 2,043 U.S. online consumers.

Sites included in the analysis of online quoting and purchasing are aigdirect.com, allstate.com, answerfinancial.com, comparisonmarket.com, driveinsurance.com, esurance.com, geico.com, insweb.com, insureme.com, nationwide.com, netquote.com, progressive.com and statefarm.com.

Source: comScore

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