Make no mistake, Google Compare is not the
newest member of the personal auto insurance
market in the United States. The emphasis clearly
was on the word “not,” (written in all capital letters) on one of the first slides of a presentation to
industry leaders made by Nicolas Weng Kan, CEO
of Google Compare.
Weng Kan appeared at the Bolt Executive
Summit in early May to speak with a group of insurance and IT leaders. Weng Kan once worked in
the automobile insurance arena and most recently
headed up Google Compare’s UK operations.
The U.S. business launched in March and
though Weng Kan did not have much data to
share with the audience on the new venture, he
made it clear data is Google’s chief business.
What Weng Kan was able to offer were a few lessons from the UK, where he claims much of the new
business in personal auto originates from aggregators.
With the growth of mobile searches, Weng Kan made it
clear developing a mobile platform had to come before a desk-top version.
“More queries are done on mobile devices in the U.S.,” he
says. Sixty-eight percent of consumers between the ages of 18
to 34 annually consider changing auto insurers. Such a tactic is
where many businesses are headed.
“People have always come to Google to search for insurance
companies,” says Weng Kan. “Customers are not finding all the
answers they need, though, which is why we developed Google
Compare. Presenting them relevant information at the right
time is another service we can offer.”
Using a comparison website is part of the consumer research
plan. Weng Kan believes consumers are more sophisticated and
that research involves more than determining which company
has the lowest price.
Google Compare lists the lowest price first when a search is
conducted, but Weng Kan points out in the UK, only 36 percent
of the sales resulting from the price comparison site go to the
insurer with the lowest price.
Five insurance brands account for six percent of the top
position comparisons, but over 25 percent of sales conversions.
“Brand strength matters for certain demographics, but some
brands convert sales even in position five of the comparison,”
Google Compares Personal Auto Rates
New service from technology leader aggregates quotes for carriers, but the
company isn’t interested in joining the fray.
He believes the approach carriers take to aggregation and
fulfillment takes effort and understanding of the needs of the
“Participation in comparison shopping is a strategic decision that
will set the course of your company for the next few years,” he says.
Weng Kan feels the benefits to consumers from Google
Compare come down to three points: They can get price quotes
from multiple insurers within 10 minutes; there is only one
form that needs to be filled; and insurers taking part in the site
are not allowed to spam the customers.
As for insurer benefits, he points out there is no cost
involved for qualified leads and the leads generally come from
highly-qualified consumers. Google Compare also asks more
questions of the customers so more information is available
to determine whether this is a driver the insurer wants to do
“Customers should be as close as possible to a bindable
quote,” says Weng Kan.
Google Compare earns its money when a policy is sold
through one of the leads, adds Weng Kan. “We don’t get paid by
ranking; only if someone buys a policy,” he says.
Google Compare is not available in all 50 states just yet. It
currently has a roster of more than 14 insurance carriers supplying rates, including Mercury Insurance, The General, Infinity
Auto Insurance, and MetLife Auto & Home. ITA