You may recall in my blog post yesterday that I mentioned that Big "I" Virtual University's Bill Wilson is on a mission from God to show that insurance is not a commodity. Here he is, in his own words as quoted last month by Insurance Journal:
Bill Wilson, director of the Virtual University of the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (IIABA), a well-known insurance industry expert and teacher for more than 30 years, says Google Compare is nothing more than another auto insurance comparison website that misleads consumers.
“What Google is doing has been done for at least 10 and maybe closer to 20 years now,” says Wilson. “There are all kinds of comparative rating websites. … from the usual Progressive Direct, GEICO, Esurance, Nerd Wallet, Quote Wizard, Bank Rate, carinsurancecomparison.com, and on and on.”
According to Wilson, Google isn’t any different from other comparative rating sites, except that it’s Google. The difference is in the Google name, expertise and financial prowess that come with it. “You have that Google name and their expertise and, needless to say, the potentially billions of dollars that they have available to pump into this.”
Because what they are offering now isn’t anything new, most independent agents aren’t overly concerned about Google’s entry into auto insurance, in Wilson’s view. Consumers are the most at-risk, he says.
“Most of the marketing for these kinds of websites is based allegedly on low-cost and convenience,” Wilson said. Many online comparison sites claim to offer an insurance quote in minutes. “How can you really help a consumer identify their exposures to loss and match it with the right customized product for those exposures” in minutes? he asks.
The big loser when it comes to online comparison tools like Google Compare is not going to be independent agents or even insurers; the real loser is consumers, he says. “Consumers are being duped into believing that all of these policies and the service providers are exactly the same. The only difference is price.”
Stay tuned. There will be more.