According the the WSJ and Insurance Journal, Google will announce today that it is suspending Google Compare for all financial services including insurance.
It turns out, selling insurance for commissions through comparison sites is much harder than it seems. This was obvious to anyone who read InsWeb’s 10Ks from 15 years ago. Comparing rates doesn’t necessarily lead to buying directly from the site that lets you compare rates. Google seems to have figured out that it can make a lot more money selling advertising to insurers than selling insurance on commission.
It’s an interesting example of how innovation works in the Valley. They tried something, it didn’t work the way they wanted it to, they learned something, and they shut it down.
Unfortunately, some industry observers are drawing the wrong lesson. An industry source quoted in Insurance Journal says “U.S. consumers are still enamored with their agents.” But it’s pretty clear that the massive growth of direct personal lines and the current investment in direct commercial lines shows this is at best an overstatement.
Again, the lesson is not “the old ways are best.” The lesson is “new market dynamics mean new models.” Commissioned sales is less remunerative than selling ads. Google learned their lesson. They’re moving on.
This blog entry has been reprinted with permission from Novarica.
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The opinions posted in this blog do not necessarily reflect those of Insurance Networking News or SourceMedia.
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