Google can be awesome for Insurance

So I stumbled onto this article with the headline “Google’s entry into insurance should frighten agents”  I am not sure that one statement could be further from the truth.

Disclaimer; I was not in the room when these comments were made.  Like most articles there is limited space available and the reporter must choose what to write.

FACT: The insurance industry is old and not nearly as technically advanced as most of the places you spend money. Think of Amazon and Zappos

FACT: Google has a lot of money and a lot of smart people.

FACT: They are buying a pretty cool operation, The Coverhound, with a reasonable base in place.

Now for the educated opinion that I can back up with facts and actual experience.  If you are running a lean or even relatively cost efficient operation, have taken care of people and have hired correctly you will MAKE MORE money with Google in the insurance space.  If any of those three pieces are not going well you have a small window to fix them.   Also, technology improvements may be on the way soon.  The problem here is if you have not adapted to technology along the way it may be to much for you.  Google may just fill in where many of the larger brokers in the P&C world have failed consumers and the industry.  Maybe their muscle can force the meaningul and easy change that can happen almost over night. So what exactly is there to be afraid of?  Consumer buying patterns have changed.  You should have and could still be a part of this.  That next level of drive by the mile and telematics will come but you have 2-5 years still to take advantage of things.

Then I read this quote;

Berkley said, “We are a bunch of cheap son of a guns. We don’t spend on anything. We’re just bums, companies and agents both. We don’t invest in the future. … We have these meetings and talk about what to do. It’s always in response to what’s going on around us instead of sitting here and saying — ‘Where is the world going to go? What kinds of things should we be doing? How to make it better?’”

Now lets put some context to this; he runs a company with 6.4 billion in revenue.  That company may be in as good as a position as any to capitalize and likely double revenues, if they want.  Sad but predictable that an old insurance company would think this way when obvious solutions are right in front of them.  Also sad since with their market share they are in a position to force technological change and choose not to.  Maybe it’s time for Berkley to be a leader instead of a talker.

Bottom line is this; if you are an agent you should be THRILLED that Google is likely entering the world of insurance.   It is an awesome opportunity that if you want it to will increase your profits, insurance company profits and make for a better consumer experience.

Who uses the phone book?

So like a lot of people, a phone book shows up in a plastic bag in my driveway.  Seems like it happens a couple of times each year.  For whatever reason this weekend I decided to open the bag.  Yes, it is smaller than I remembered.  It is also apparently very eco-friendly addition produced by Hibu .

Now, I am sure somebody keeps them and uses it a few times a year.  My household does not, fortunately today is garbage day so it is now in the recycle bin.  I did learn about and have now opted out of the three available books.  Now what?

Do you have Google?  Then why would you need a phone book.  I feel kind of the same way about Angies List .  I firmly believe it is great to get recommendations but I prefer to get them from friends not strangers.  Again, I can see why some people need this sort of service.  Sort of a shame though, relying on an online forum rather than human beings you know.  So like all things I take a look at the insurance side of things.

In the yellow pages there are 200+ insurance companies listed.  Some are agents who take on numerous listings.  Others are names I recognized that are no longer in business.  I suppose I hope that they are not paying for these listings but some have full blow ads.   This is sad to me but hey; do whatever works for you.  I do wish I new who called them because of these ads, that would be much more interesting than the ad itself.

Bottom line, my phone book is my phone.  If there is not a number in my personal listings then I search via Google or even Facebook.  How about you?


Either way, just a thought.