Traditional carriers have successfully attracted consumers to research and manage their insurance policies online, but distribution sites have encouraged a significant number of consumers to select their insurance almost exclusively based on price. That's a conclusion of a study from Compete Inc., a Boston-based consulting firm. By studying the "clickstream" data from more than 10 million Internet users, Compete analyzed consumer preferences and trends within the property/casualty insurance market from September 2001 to November 2001. The challenge facing insurance carriers is to bridge the gap between brand-focused customers they sucessfully attract and price-focused customers siphoned by distribution sites, such as InsWeb, Quotesmith and Insurance.com, according to Compete.

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