(April 1, 2016) - Internet giant Google and the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of New York (IIABNY) today announced that they intend to merge, positioning the technology company to re-enter the insurance market that it abruptly left earlier this year. Spokespeople for both Google and IIABNY declined to reveal the terms of the deal, citing confidentiality concerns while stakeholders evaluate it. However, it is believed that Google put up at least $10 million in cash for New York’s oldest insurance producer trade association.
Google’s purchase of IIABNY will give the company access to the data and markets of the association’s 1,750 member agencies in the Empire State. The move will allow Google, which announced weeks ago that it was shuttering its Google Compare insurance shopping service, to compete on a wide scale in the property-casualty insurance market.
IIABNY President and CEO Dick Poppa said, “We are very excited to join forces with Google. Their reputation for innovation and excellence, not to mention their ability to track the activities of everyone who goes online, makes them a natural partner for IIABNY and its member independent insurance agencies. We look forward to a very successful relationship.”
IIABNY Chair of the Board Todd Rockefeller noted, “This new venture with Google will give IIABNY and its members access to a wide range of sophisticated technology tools. Independent insurance agencies in New York will now have improved search engine optimization, along with the ability to know what their clients are doing before the clients themselves know.” He added that the IIABNY logo would likely change on a daily basis following the merger.
Neither Poppa nor Rockefeller would comment on rumors that they had been granted Google stock options.
Should Google stockholders and IIABNY members approve the merger, Google would enter into the trade association business for the first time. Industry observers have speculated that Google and IIABNY may launch the largest captive insurer in the U.S. Poppa declined to comment, calling all such speculation “premature.”
“However,” he added, “I must say that, when I retire later this year, I’m really going to miss saying to our members, ‘Happy April Fool’s Day’.”