In response to its assertion that its customer base of independent agents is growing increasingly threatened by insurance carriers that market directly to consumers via the internet, Quotepro, a Chicago tech firm, has developed software designed to enable their clients to continue to thrive.

Quotepro's original—and still primary—product is their Comparative Rater, which enables their independent agent customers to match a consumer's auto and homeowners needs with the agent's portfolio of carriers. In today's competitive environment for automobile insurance, however, they are observing the shift toward carriers who are selling directly to the consumer via the Internet.

According to Quotepro President Ernest Freudman, "More and more carriers are selling directly to the consumer," he says. "In studies we've reviewed by the marketing research firm comScore, the Auto Insurance Report and comScore's Auto Insurance Benchmarker, in 2006 Progressive and GEICO combined accounted for about 14% of the legacy market for automobile insurance premiums, but in 2007, they accounted for a full 62% of the quotes submitted online for automobile insurance. Obviously, consumers are shopping more and more online for automobile insurance."

Freudman sees this as a challenge to Quotepro's customers. "Quotepro's clients are primarily independent insurance agents who are threatened by this shift," he says. "That's why we've developed software that enables our customers to participate in the shift by using our Consumer Rating Engine."

The Quotepro Consumer Rating Engine can be added to any existing Web site and is designed to enable the independent agent to have an attractive, robust presence on the Web and to compete directly with carriers such as Progressive and GEICO.

The Quotepro Consumer Rating Engine is designed to fully automate the sales cycle so that the independent agent's client can:

1. Determine the price of the proposed insurance policy
2. Pay for the policy, or an initial policy payment, with a credit card
3. Receive the policy and an identification card by e-mail within a few minutes

According to Freudman, "The Gecko does not do it any better."

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