An article today indicated that search engine powerhouse Google intends to get into the insurance sales business. Google which has a number of business entities is said to enter the insurance business in the United States under Google Compare Auto Insurance Services and is licensed to sell insurance in 26 states and in one state has the ability to offer insurance from six insurance companies.
The Google insurance site was originally to be tested in California last year but had been delayed to sometime in the first quarter of 2015 and then be rolled out in Illinois, Pennsylvania and then Texas.
What does this mean for the insurance consumer? Well, not much really. The insurance companies that will be featured by Google already offer insurance direct to the consumer. So, all that Google will be offering is a search feature for insurance rates for companies that already offer insurance direct to the consumer. The consumer will have another choice to price comparison shop which is a good thing however access to insurance markets has never been limited.
Wal-Mart has also recently entered the insurance sales business by offering kiosks in their stores and limited access on their website. For the consumer that appreciates shopping online and is well acquainted with Google the new option will be welcomed. Similarly, for the consumer that likes to shop at Wal-Mart and would like the convenience of buying their insurance at the store the option will be welcomed just like Google.
For insurance agents the sky is not falling. Consumers that like to shop insurance on their own should have the options to do so and for the same consumers that like to buy insurance on their own the additional option of having Google offers more choice. The consumer should have the ability to write their own wills without an attorney; should be able to complete their taxes without a tax professional; should be able to invest without a stock broker; plan their retirement without a financial planner and yes should be able to buy insurance without an insurance agent.
However, for someone who is serious about their assets, who want to protect their family today and into the future an insurance agent is an important part of that plan. So, welcome Google but I am not worried.