The problem hasn't been getting customers to obtain an insurance quote from Overstock's online system but getting them to go through the entire purchasing process, says Jeff Chesky, CEO of Insuritas, the agency arm behind Overstock.com's home, auto, renters and small business insurance offerings.
In fact, Chesky
says if anything Overstock's
new insurance venture has proven how a retailer can attract customers that are a good risk "at a fraction of what the industry normally pays to get a customers attention."
"From a lead opportunity and shopping opportunity [the partnership] has been phenomenal," he
doesn't solve this problem because it will still be sending customers to another site to buy the coverage.
"The C-suite of the carriers needs to stand up and recognize that they have to support this last yard in migration from product-centric to customer-centric distribution," he
The insurance industry has yet to figure out how to allow customers to compare and buy in one place, says Chesky of Insuritas.
"Carriers have yet to set the last yard of the process and this last yard is entirely in their control," he
system is able handle the entire transaction process for three of the carriers it works with, but Chesky
says the rest of the 30-plus companies are not ready to get onboard.
"There's a fear in the C-suite of P/C carriers about going into a true shop-compare-and-buy experience that they don't control.
I think a lot of that goes back to insurance.com and insure.com when they wrote lots of risks that they didn't want to write," says Chesky
says today's online model is much different because insurance agencies are more portable and can easily be set up inside of stores like Walmart or Overstock
Carriers can decide where they want their products to be sold.
"It is much more controlled and a predictable kind of shopper that is going to see your products in these stores," he
"If you are a carrier that is attracted to writing attractive standard or preferred risks with low loss ratios and consistency, you want to have your products on Overstock's shelves because that is a good buyer."
firm plans to add two more carriers to its list of companies that customers can access through Overstock's
site in the first half of 2015, but Insuritas
has more work to do in improving Overstock's insurance sales.
agrees and says Google
is going to show the industry that insurance products no longer need to be sold in the traditional "brick and mortar agency" and that will prompt carriers to think about whether Google
is the best store aisle to put their insurance products in. "All this talk about Google
misses the point because it doesn't have anything to do with search and analytics.