Insurance Networking periodically takes a look at the Web offerings from carriers and insurance marketplaces.RBC Insurance

RBC Insurance is a member company of RBC Financial Group, the brand name used by Royal Bank of Canada. Royal Bank has for years been a leader in implementing Web-based banking and bill payment services, so it's no surprise that the RBC Insurance site is comprehensive.

The design is clean and simple. It has a full menu of typical features (information about the company, calculators, contact information) and a few unique touches, such as an online survey measuring consumers' comfort level for purchasing insurance online.

In October, RBC added the ability to get online quotes for auto and property insurance. Unlike some carrier sites where the getting quotes is an arduous task-causing many prospects to simply give up-RBC's process is quick and simple. It's starts when users enter their postal code, followed by prompts first and last name, marital status and the province that an applicant is licensed in.

Applicants can zip through standard questions such as age, driving record, make and model of their auto before receiving a detailed quote (including annual premium, third-party liability coverage and deductibles). The only downside to the process is that policies cannot be purchased online; applicants are given a reference number with their quote and asked to call a toll-free number. The information that an applicant enters is available to call center agents. has many strengths, starting with perhaps the best Web address of any insurance marketplace on the Internet., an affiliate of Fidelty Investments, this year developed online marketing agreements with a host of online powerhouses including AOL, Bloomberg, Yahoo! and Bankrate.

The Web site is very simple in design, but it's packed with useful information and services. organizes features either under policy type or by category. For example, click on the site's automobile icon and you are given four options: receiving a quote, basic information about auto insurance, answers to routine questions about auto policies and information about how certain "life events" such as marriage can affect auto insurance coverages.'s home page contains icons for each insurance product offered through the site-auto, life, home, health and pet. Users also can get detailed information on disability, liability and long-term care policies.

The biggest drawback to the site is the company's business model. For example, the quoting process for auto insurance is clunky and cumbersome. And users who are patient enough to enter information in all of the required fields may be passed on to a toll-free number, or one of's partner agencies, to complete the actual policy purchase.

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